History beckons yet again as the 146th Open reaches its climax.
After Branden Grace’s first ever 62 in a men’s major championship, victory for Jordan Spieth will see him join Jack Nicklaus as the only player to win three legs of the career grand slam aged 23. Tiger Woods was 24 when he did it.
“That would be incredible,” Spieth said.
“I had a five-shot lead at the Masters (last year) and didn’t win. I’ve had the heights,” said the 2015 Masters and US Open champion, “and I’ve had the humblings. If I play the way I’ve been playing, things will take care of themselves.”
Spieth shot a third round 65 to enter the final round 11 under par. He holds a three-shot lead over fellow American Matt Kuchar.
US Open champion Brooks Koepka is at five under along with yet another American, 20-year-old Austin Connelly playing in his first ever major.
Spieth’s rival for superstar status in the absence of Woods, Rory McIlroy, is two under after a ragged 69.
The grimace and shake of his head as he walked off the 18th green revealed he knows he has little chance of catching the leaders and competing for the Claret Jug.
Grace is in the chasing pack at four under par along with the world’s top two ranked players: Dustin Johnson and Hideki Matsuyama. Defending champion Henrik Stenson is three under.
That is a stellar leaderboard but it seems the only way Spieth can lose is if, like Stenson on Thursday, his house is burgled and his clubs are stolen.
“I thought it was going to be tougher to hold the lead. But that was relatively stress free considering,” Spieth said. How’s that for confidence?
“He’s starting to perform like Tiger,” said Butch Harmon who used to coach Woods. “He’s got the heart of a lion.”
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