PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) — One swing put Jordan Spieth closer than ever to finish a lengthy and mysterious slump, and served as a reminder that he still has a long road ahead at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
Two shots with three holes to play Saturday, Spieth holed out with an 8-iron from 160 yards for eagle on the 16th hole, the start of a stunning twist that delivered him into a 1-under 71 plus a two-shot lead going into the final round.
Daniel Berger helped out by moving from a share of the lead to two shots when his tee shot on the par-5 18th was out-of-bounds by mere inches and contributed into a double bogey.
“it is a great lesson to learn for tomorrow, how fast things can change here,” Spieth explained.
The timing was perfect for Spieth, who was with no victory worldwide in his past 79 events since he won the 2017 British Open at Royal Birkdale.
He led by two shots at the turn only to miss the green and make bogey at the 10th and 12th, and then bail out of a tough wedge into a back pin on the par-5 14th that spun off the green for another bogey.
The pin on the 16th was cut into the left a severely pitched green, and it had been fantastic.
“With the wind off the right and also a little mud on the right side of the ball, I knew I could throw it out to the proper and let kind of the wind and the sand do the majority of the job,” Spieth explained. “From the atmosphere I thought it was going to be really excellent. It had been one of the only shots I sort of said,’Oh, be good’ on now. Definitely a bonus for it to drop.
These minutes used to happen once Spieth was winning all of the time. This was the second time this week he holed out from the fairway, and he is on the cusp of winning again.
Spieth was 13-under 203 with plenty of contenders right behind.
Berger called over a formal to get a linear measure of his ball around the 18th, against the hedges but within the white discs that indicate out-of-bounds. He had a 72 and was two shots behind.
“I am two shots out of the guide, so that I feel quite good about my chances going into tomorrow and shed a couple more putts and it will be a fantastic week,” he said.
Patrick Cantlay, whose third round began with such promise when he struck eight feet for eagle, birdied the 18th to get a 70 and combined Berger two shots from the guide.
Even so, this is considered a body of work — seven consecutive rounds of great scoring, also this week doing this mostly keeping the ball in play.
He expects there to be nerves, just like always. He is equally enthused about the procedure as the position.
“I actually don’t really care about the timeframe material,” he explained concerning the 43-month drought. “I am actually just going to throw that out of my head because I am eventually always doing things over the previous two months that I’ve wanted to do for quite a while. I think, obviously, the further you keep doing that, the bounces go your way, like the hole-out did today on 16.
“Someone may do this to me or come shoot a 64 or something. I mean, it’s golf and it is Pebble Beach.”
His goal was to specify a target and go get it, realizing that his game is still not as complete as if he was winning frequently and regularly contending in majors.
“It’s functioning that direction, but it is not there yet,” he said. “I am just hoping to get it feel slightly better than yesterday”
Jason Day was very much in the mix, too, following a 68 abandoned him at the group in 10-under 206. Paul Casey remained three shots behind with a great break on the 18th when his tee shot down on the rocks, but had a horizontal enough lie that he would hit off the stone back in the fairway.
Maverick McNealy had a 69 that included a penalty shot behind the green when his ball moved straight as he place the club behind the ball.
Spieth didn’t have to compete with what he predicted to be a”mean” day at Pebble Beach. The rain in the forecast was gone from the time he teed off. The raging wind was a stiff breeze across the ocean holes which Pebble gets all the time, though it was not any harder coming back into it on the back nine.
No rain was at the forecast, just typical Pacific finish on a path where it can change immediately.