AT&T PEBBLE BEACH PRO-AM: Spieth keeps foot on gas pedal

February 11, 2017

PGA Golf

Jordan Spieth follows his approach shot from off the fairway to the sixth green of the Pebble Beach Golf Links during the third round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am golf tournament Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017, in Pebble Beach, Calif. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

By Jeremy Harness

PEBBLE BEACH–The weather cleared up immensely, and the temperature got warmer in the process. Jordan Spieth, however, proved to be just as hot as he was the day before.

Spieth started out his third round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am on a roll, and with the exception of a bogey at the eighth hole, he never really stopped. He finished his third round at Pebble Beach on Saturday with a seven-under 65, identical to his second round at Spyglass Hill.

He birdied the first two holes of the day, and immediately after the lone bogey on his card, he proceeded to run off three birdies in a row at holes nine through 11. To close things out, he made birdies at three of the final four holes, including the iconic 18th hole that is located right on the Pacific coastline.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better putting day,” Spieth said. “With greens that have a lot of traffic because they have been so soft with this weather, it’s very difficult even to make a putt from four feet.

“I’m certainly grateful of that and recognize that going into tomorrow, that hitting putts with the right speed is key and not letting it get too far away from you and staying very patient when they do miss, because most certainly, you’re going to miss putts inside 10 feet out here.”

He also put himself in prime position to make a lot of birdies on Saturday. For instance, he hit 11 of his 14 fairways as well as hitting 12 of the 18 greens in regulation, ranking in the top-10 in each statistic this week.

And then, there is that putter of his. He only had 23 putts in the third round, and he is second in strokes gained on the field in putting for the week, while he is at the top of the field in putts per green-in-regulation.

When you add it all up, it is a six-stroke lead for the Masters as well as U.S Open titleholder.

Another man who is known for his putter, Brandt Snedeker, who won this tournament two years ago, is also in the mix as the final round will get ready to commence on Sunday. He finished his third round with a five-under 67 and is currently 11-under for the week and is in second place.

“I kept telling myself to be patient,” Snedeker said. “I’m playing good. I got off to kind of a rough start this morning. I made a couple bogeys early, and I knew on the front nine, you can get going.

“But all in all, I kind of fought back today and got myself back in the tournament. I got a chance tomorrow.”

Also getting himself into contention on Saturday was Dustin Johnson, who shot a six-under 66 for his third round to pull within seven strokes of the lead and a tie for the third position. Making the same exact move to the top is Kelly Kraft, with whom Johnson is tied and also fired a 66 at Pebble Beach on Saturday.

“I feel like I’ve been playing pretty solid all three days, and I finally got a few putts to go in today,” Johnson said after his third round. “It’s not easy to get the ball close to the holes, and when you do, it’s hard to make putts.

“But today, I felt like I drove it really well, and I hit a lot of nice, solid iron shots. So it was a pretty stress-free day.”

 

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