PGA Tour

Koepka leads Spieth at Byron Nelson

2016-05-22 07:42
Brooks Koepka (Getty Images)

Washington - Second-ranked Jordan Spieth, trying to rebound from two disappointing efforts, remained second after Saturday's third round of the PGA Tour's Byron Nelson Championship, two strokes back of leader Brooks Koepka.

Reigning US Open Spieth fired a three-under-par 67 in his hometown tournament, taking a bogey at 18 while US compatriot Koepka rescued a closing par with a 10-foot putt to shoot 65 and seize the 54-hole lead on 16-under 194.

"It's nice to go into the final round with a two-shot lead," Koepka said. "I hit the ball terrible. It wasn't anything to brag about at all. I felt like throughout the whole round, all 18 holes. It wasn't very good but I'm putting it so well."

Spain's Sergio Garcia and Americans Matt Kuchar and Bud Cauley shared third on 197.

Spieth is trying to pull off a comeback victory after missing the cut in last week's Players Championship and suffering a last-day meltdown at the Masters, where a back-nine fade cost him a second consecutive green jacket.

"I was in some really tough spots and was a very stressful round of golf to play because I just don't have confidence over the ball right now," Spieth said. "It's very frustrating and (I'm) actually putting incredible to still be in this tournament."

Spieth sank a 20-foot birdie putt at the par-3 17th to reach 15-under as the hometown crowd that greeted him with a standing ovation roared again with delight.

"That's a moment that I'll never forget," Spieth said. "To be honest, even though it's Saturday, may or may not have any impact on this tournament, that was the coolest roar I've ever heard. Fantastic walking up to that green."

But at 18, Spieth was in the trees right of the fairway off the tee and blasted out through a gap to just short of the green while Koepka went over the green on his approach.

Spieth pitched to nine feet while Koepka's pitch landed 10 feet shy of the cup. But Koepka sank his par putt to secure the lead and Spieth missed, falling two shots adrift.

"It's a positive that I'm scoring well," Spieth said. "It's very difficult for me to stand up here and not be positive given I'm at 14-under and contending, but if you guys knew the kind of stress I felt over the golf ball right now trying to put my swing in the right position, it is a challenge."

Koepka won his only PGA title last year at Phoenix, but he also took the Turkish Airlines Open on his way to being named 2014 European Tour Rookie of the Year.

The 26-year-old American had top-10 efforts at last year's British Open and PGA Championship and his best major showing with a share of fourth at the 2014 US Open.

Spieth, who defends his US Open crown next month at Oakmont, sank four-foot birdie putts at the fourth and par-5 seventh, closed the front nine with a birdie and hit a three-foot birdie putt at 11 to reach 15-under.

At 14, Spieth salvaged a bogey after hitting his tee shot into the water, reaching the green in four and making a 22-foot putt to surrender only one stroke.

"We both kind of hung in there, battled it out and we made some good, good key 10-footers," Koepka said. "That's what you've got to do out here if you're not hitting it well."

Koepka opened his roller coaster round with a bogey, birdied the third and par-3 fifth but needed two shots to escape rough and took a bogey at six.

After responding with a seven-foot birdie putt at the seventh and a 10-footer for birdie at the eighth, Koepka dropped his approach inches from the cup at 11 to set up a tap-in birdie and took the lead with a 20-foot birdie putt at the 14th.

Koepka also pitched to two feet and tapped in for birdie at the par-5 16th.

Leading scores after Saturday's third round of the PGA Byron Nelson Championship at Irving, Texas (par 70, USA unless noted):

194 - Brooks Koepka 65-64-65

196 - Jordan Spieth 64-65-67

197 - Matt Kuchar 65-67-65, Bud Cauley 64-65-68, Sergio Garcia (ESP) 63-66-68

198 - Kyle Reifers 68-65-65

199 - Gary Woodland 71-64-64, Tim Wilkinson (NZL) 67-69-63, Steve Marino 69-64-66, Bryce Molder 66-65-68

200 - Sean O'Hair 66-69-65, Ben Crane 65-63-72

201 - Charles Howell 65-70-66, Robert Garrigus 65-70-66, Chad Campbell 66-69-66, Spencer Levin 68-66-67, Johnson Wagner 63-70-68, Jason Dufner 66-67-68, Adam Hadwin (CAN) 66-66-69, Freddie Jacobson (SWE) 64-68-69, Tom Hoge 64-68-69, Danny Lee (NZL) 63-69-69

202 - Will MacKenzie 66-70-66, Kang Sung (KOR) 67-67-68, Ricky Barnes 69-67-66, Chez Reavie 67-66-69, Colt Knost 70-63-69, Hudson Swafford 66-66-70, Dustin Johnson 64-68-70

Read more on:    pga tour  |  golf

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk


Who will win the 2016 edition of the Ryder Cup?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.