Spieth in command after 54 holes at Open

Jordan Spieth storms clear at Royal Birkdale as he bids to win three legs of career Grand Slam.

Andy Roberts's picture
Sat, 22 Jul 2017

jordan spieth leads open after 54 holes

 

Jordan Spieth will take a three-shot lead into the final round of the Open Championship as he bids to complete three legs of the career Grand Slam. 

Spieth, 23, carded a flawless third-round 65 to move up to 11-under leaving him three strokes clear of compatriot Matt Kuchar, who posted a 66.

The 23-year-old American will now look to land a hat-trick of career majors to follow up his brace of victories at the 2015 Masters and 2015 US Open.

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"That was really good," said Spieth, who co-led after 18 holes and took a two-shot lead into the third round.

"I thought we took an agressive game plan out there, I committed to my shots, had a lot of opportunities for birdies and it was relatively stress free given the scenario."

Jack Nickalus is the only player to win three different majors before his 24th birthday, and Spieth is 24 next week. 

"It would be incredible to join Jack," said Spieth. 

"I've had a five-shot lead in a major and squandered it before. I've the height and the humbling, so I will keep my head down and not get ahead of myself. That's the biggest thing to do in the next 20 hours. Stay loose, smile a lot, and if I play the way I've been playing, things will take care of themselves."

Kuchar, a Ryder Cup teammate of Spieth's, will go in search of landing his maiden major title in his 47th attempt. 

"I feel I've had a great career. I've had a good record on Tour, but a major win would be the next progression for me. This is what we come out here to do, and this one is an awfully special one."

American Brooks Koepka (68), who won the US Open in his last start four weeks ago, lies in a tie for third alongside Canada's Austin Connelly (66) on 5-under.

South Africa's Branden Grace lies a further shot back after re-writing the record books by shooting the lowest round in a men's major of 62, and he was joined on 4-under later in the day by Japan's Hideki Matsuyama (68).

World number one Dustin Johnson (64) shot his lowest round of the week to move up to 3-under alongside defending champion Henrik Stenson (65), American Chan Kim (67) and last week's Scottish Open winner Rafa Cabrera-Bello (67).

Rory McIlroy got off to the perfect start by making birdie on three of his first five holes, but struggled around the turn with consecutive bogeys on seven and eight, before making a mess of the 10th with a double-bogey six, as the Northern Irishman went on to card a 69 to sit 2-under for the tournament in a tie for 11th.

 

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