PGA Tour

Spieth stretches lead in Hawaii

2016-01-10 07:29
Jordan Spieth (AFP)

Los Angeles - World number one Jordan Spieth is showing no sign of rust, closing with an eagle Saturday to extend his lead to five shots at the US PGA Tour Tournament of Champions.

The 22-year-old Texan continued his brilliant putting in the third round, firing a eight-under 65 to reach 24-under 195 at the Plantation Course at Kapalua.

"I was glad to get that last putt into the hole to give me a confidence boost for tomorrow," Spieth said.

"This is as far under par as I have ever been after 54 holes."

Spieth is well positioned for his seventh US PGA Tour title which would equal the total that Tiger Woods achieved before turning 23.

Horton Smith, who won 14 times from 1928-30, is the only other golfer to have more victories before that age.

"Nothing changes for tomorrow," Spieth said. "We should have some good conditions so I have to go out and make some birdies."

American Brooks Koepka is alone in second after shooting a 10-under 63 for 200.

Defending champion Patrick Reed, who shot a 67, was third, six shots back of Spieth while Brandt Snedeker (65) and Argentina's Fabian Gomez (70) were tied for fourth at 15-under 204.

Spieth begins 2016 on top of the rankings after winning five times, including two majors, last year.

The reigning US Open and Masters champion is making just his second start in this event after finishing runner-up two years ago.

Spieth started the day with a four-stroke lead but that dwindled to just one on the back nine of the round before he turned up the heat again.

Spieth finished with one eagle and seven birdies, including a stretch of four straight birdies on the front nine. The only blemish in his round was a bogey on the par-three eighth hole -- his first of the week.

"There was some unbelievable golf played out in front of us considering the conditions were more difficult. There are still 18 holes to go," Spieth said.

Koepka birdied six straight holes beginning at the par-four No. 3. He was one shot back before Spieth holed a 46-foot birdie putt on the 12th hole and played the last eight holes in five-under.

"Today was the day, perfect numbers, everything went my way," Koepka said. "I flushed it."

World number two Jason Day, who returned to the course after a three month break, was tied for 20th after shooting his best score of the week a four-under 69.

Day said the time off was nice but he is ready to compete again and needs to play more rounds before he can get his confidence back.

"It is difficult getting back into it. I had a lot of bogeys," said Day. "Not being sharp was my trouble this week. I am looking to improve and get the year underway."

British Open champion Zach Johnson shot a three-under 70 and was tied for 26th.


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