Spieth sets sights on new scoring heights
January 09, 2016
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
- Jordan Spieth closed out Saturday's third round in style with a near albatross at the 18th to shoot 65. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
KAPALUA, Hawaii -- A few observations following Saturday’s third round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, where Jordan Spieth shot 8-under 65 to take a five-shot lead over Brooks Koepka, going into the final round at the Plantation Course. For more on the action, click here to read the Daily Wrap-Up.
1. RECORD WITHIN REACH: Jordan Spieth doesn’t want to just win. He wants to get to 30-under par for the week. Or lower.
When Ernie Els won the tournament in 2003, he finished at a record 31 under -- a PGA TOUR low for a four-day event (Steve Stricker was 33 under through the first four rounds of the five-round 2009 Bob Hope Classic).
“I think it's a great goal to set to try and set something to shoot for versus trying to look at behind you at who is coming up,” said Spieth, whose current lowest four-day total on TOUR was 20 under at last year’s John Deere Classic. “Trying to get to 30 would be a fantastic number to set for (Sunday). That would be a place that I've never been.”
The lowest Spieth has been in any tournament was 26 under at the 2014 Hero World Challenge.
As for Els’ mark, he’s basically on pace. Els was 25 under through three rounds in 2003. Spieth is 24 under.
“It would be really cool to get a 3 on the board as the first number -- and the second, that's fine too,” he said. “But I know what Ernie's record is; for me if I could get it to 30, that would be pretty awesome.”
Spieth extends lead to five in Kapalua
(Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
2. SPIETH’S CLOSING EAGLE: The reason Spieth has a five-shot lead instead of being up by just three? An eagle at the 611-yard, par-5 18th, which he reached in two from 250 yards, nearly holing the shot from the fairway.
“It was the exact same shot I had on 17,” he said. “The hardest part about that shot is you need to stay aggressive with it, so you don't just (push it) way it out to the right. But there's a fine line in being aggressive and being overaggressive and all of a sudden you've given yourself a tough chance to even make par, if you make the worst mistake.
“You wouldn't think that's that hard for us to do, but that slope is so significant in the fairway. You're hitting the ball like this (indicating) with a 3-iron, which now turns almost into a 1-iron. And that's what's so different.
“In mid-air I told (my caddie), ‘Mike, that should be perfect.’”
(Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
3. KOEPKA ON A TEAR: The round of the day Saturday came from Brooks Koepka. The 25-year-old made 10 birdies, including five in a row on the front nine, on his way to a 63. He would end up just one shy of tying the course record set by K.J. Choi in 2003 and Graeme McDowell in 2011.
Koepka, who switched equipment in the offseason (Titleist to Nike) didn’t have any trouble adjusting. He ranks second in greens in regulation and hit 17 greens on Saturday, missing only on the 13th hole. For the week, he has hit 48 of 54 greens.
But it’s what he is doing once he gets on the putting surface that has been impressive. He took 26 putts Saturday, including 10 one-putts, and didn’t miss any from inside 10 feet. He’s third in the field in strokes gained: putting for the week.
“The speed was just much better (Saturday) and that's why the putts were able to drop,” Koepka said.
(Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
4. STILL BOGEY-FREE: Patrick Reed has played some of the best golf of his career on the Plantation Course.
Last year, he won the tournament. This year, he is the only player without a bogey on the scorecard, something he had never done through the first three rounds of any event.
“That's always a positive,” said Reed, who shot 67 Saturday.
The bad news? He still trails by six.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
CALL OF THE DAY - SPIETH'S NEAR ALBATROSS ON NO. 18.
Free play-by-play coverage of the final round streams from 5-10 p.m. ET Sunday on PGATOUR.COM.
SHOT OF THE DAY
Shot of the Day
Jordan Spieth's near albatross is the Shot of the Day
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Jordan Spieth's ranks this week: Birdies: 1st Eagles: 1st Sand saves: 1st Strokes gained: putting: 1st Golf clap. 👏 pic.twitter.com/4IFd0Gzy5E— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) January 10, 2016
Patrick Reed's last six finishes worldwide: • 2nd • T10 • 2nd • T7 • T10 • T3 He's solo third entering Sunday. pic.twitter.com/vi8avbqQxV— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) January 10, 2016