Jordan Spieth shoots 65 for 3-shot lead at British Open

Jordan Spieth-British Open Getty Images

Jordan Spieth shoots 65 for 3-shot lead at British Open

PGA Tour

Jordan Spieth shoots 65 for 3-shot lead at British Open

Here is a recap of the third round of the British Open, played at Royal Birkdale in Southport, England:

LEADING: Jordan Spieth is still not letting up. In benign scoring conditions, Spieth took advantage like many in the field. He went bogey-free and posted five birdies in pristine 5-under 65. Spieth essentially retained the solo lead the entire round, birdieing No. 3 to move to 7 under and stay one ahead of Matt Kuchar after he birdied Nos. 2 and 3. A birdie at No. 7 moved Spieth two ahead and he stayed there after a birdie that Kuchar matched at the eighth. Kuchar cut the lead to one after birdieing 14, but after both birdied 15, Kuchar double bogeyed 16 to fall three back. By day’s end, that’s where he remained. Kuchar birdied 17 to move back within two, but Spieth buried a 20-footer at 18 to finish at 11 under and move back into a three-shot lead.

Spieth, 23, is looking for his third major victory in his last stab at one of these four events before his 24th birthday. He held a share of the lead after 18 holes, surged ahead by two halfway into the tournament and increased the margin Saturday. This low scoring day could’ve made Spieth wilt as competitors charged up at him, but he showed no flinch.

Spieth’s last start was a victory at the Travelers Championship. He has two times on the year and has 10 PGA Tour titles overall. But he hasn’t won a major since the 2015 U.S. Open. That drought may very well conclude Sunday.

CHASING: Kuchar put up a valiant battle but could not wrestle the lead away. He may’ve had a chance if not for the double on 16. Still, it’s a 4-under 66 for Kuchar, who’s solo second at 8 under. Brooks Koepka makes six birdies to shoot 2-under 68 and find himself tied for third at 5 under. He’s there with Austin Connelly, the 20-year-old who amazingly finishes birdie-birdie for 66 to post at that 5-under number (he also holed out for eagle at No. 2 earlier in the day). Here’s more on Connelly.

Now let’s get into the 4-under and 3-under groups… Branden Grace, man. The South African shoots the first 62 in men’s major championship history. It’s an 8-under round for Grace, who jumps 40 spots to a tie for fifth at 4 under. Hideki Matsuyama shoots 66 to reach 4 under as he looks for his first major. World No. 1 Dustin Johnson flirts with 62 before settling for 64 and getting in at 3 under (T-7). Defending champion Henrik Stenson also reaches that number after a 65.

SHOT OF THE DAY: Rickie Fowler came INCHES from a hole-in-one on a par 4. Here’s that shot in all its glory:

QUOTABLE: “I thought it was phenomenal. I was very pleased with our tee-to-green performance, and I made a couple really nice par saves from 4-5 feet. But other than that, it was pretty stress-free. And on a Saturday with the lead in a major, that’s about as good as I can ask for.” – Spieth, on his third-round 65

SHORT SHOTS: Rory McIlroy starts his round 3 under through five but makes a killer double bogey at No. 10, That pushed him back to a 1-under 69. That moved him from T-6 to T-11 on this day and he sits eight back at 2 under. … Ian Poulter is also at this number after a 1-over 71. … Fowler posts a third-round 67 to move up to 1 under, jumping from T-24 to T-15 in the process. …  Jason Day shoots 65 to move up 43 spots to T-18 at even par. … Hometown kid Tommy Fleetwood continues to rebound from an opening 76, posting a Saturday 66 to move up 32 spots to a tie for 29th at 1 over. … Alfie Plant, the only amateur to make the cut, shoots 69 and is T-43 at 3 over.

UP NEXT: Golf Channel will air final-round coverage from 4-7 a.m. Eastern before turning it over to NBC for a 7 a.m.-2 p.m. stretch. All our coverage from Royal Birkdale can be found right here. Also go to our Facebook and Twitter feeds for the action during the championship.

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