December 06, 2014

Round 3: Hero World Challenge

Keegan Bradley fired a 7-under 65 during Saturday’s third round of the Hero World Challenge at Isleworth Golf & Country Club and still fell two shots further off the lead.

That’s because of how well leader Jordan Spieth has played this week and specifically on Saturday.

For the second time in less than a week, Spieth posted a 63, leaving the former Texas Longhorn at 20-under 196, giving him a seven shot lead over Bradley and Henrik Stenson heading into the final round and establishing a new 54-hole mark for the Hero World Challenge in the process.

“This is the best I’ve played in a 54‑hole stretch in my life,” Spieth said. “I’ve never been 20‑under par in 54 holes.

“I don’t think I’ve ever finished 20‑under par for a tournament, so that is a good goal for tomorrow, to finish in the 20s.”

Spieth has an opportunity to claim his second tournament title in the past seven days. Six days ago Spieth fired a final round 63 to win the Australian Open by six shots.

Saturday’s 63 put Spieth in prime position to win his first Hero World Challenge title. Spieth said claiming his second straight tournament title would mean a lot to him.

“This is a world‑class field by every definition of it,” Spieth said. “These are the guys that win major championships. It (winning) would mean a lot to me going into the offseason. It would give me a lot of confidence going forward.”

Spieth had to show up early on Saturday to finish his rain-delayed second round. He faced a difficult chip but managed to hit his ball to five feet and make the putt for par.

Spieth admitted he was feeling a little pressure before he hit the chip, saying he wanted to close out his second round the right way and give himself some confidence heading into the third round.

“I think making that putt gave me some momentum.” Spieth said. “Seeing a putt go in is always nice.”

The momentum certainly carried over as Spieth opened his third round with three straight birdies, including a 20-foot putt on the first hole.

He capped the round by making a 60-foot birdie putt on 18. He got some unexpected help in making the putt from Steve Stricker who, like Spieth, had to return early Saturday to finish his second round.

Stricker’s putt was similar to the one Spieth had to close out his third round, except that it came from the other side of the green.

“I could tell exactly how fast his was,” Spieth said. “So I got a little feel of the speed maybe off seeing his this morning, which could have been a good break for me.”

“I knew when it was about four feet to go that it was going to take a little left break. Put my putter up, which normally it’ll find a way to lip out, but that one fell in.”