After Jordan Spieth played his way into contention through 36 holes of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, many were wondering could he keep it up over the weekend, where he’s typically struggled the past few years.
Spieth’s answer: Tying his career-low round on Tour, a 10-under 61 on Saturday at TPC Scottsdale that earned him a share off the 54-hole lead with Xander Schauffele.
As with most 61s, there were plenty of highlights, as Spieth totaled 10 birdies (a career best), including long putts on Nos. 16 and 17 among his six back-nine birdies.
Spieth got things rolling early – literally – by following a birdie at the par-5 third hole with a 19-foot birdie make at the par-4 fourth.
Two holes later Spieth yanked his drive left into the desert – he’d hit a few from the native area on the day – but wedge from about 100 yards out to inside of 5 feet to set up another birdie.
“I got really luck off the tee shot here,” Spieth said. “What a nice sand wedge that was. Certainly a bonus to get a birdie there after hitting a provisional ball off the tee.”
A 10-foot birdie make at the par-4 eighth helped Spieth put together an opening nine of 4-under 31.
“Just putting really nice pace on it to where if it got anywhere near the hole, the hole seemed to grab it today,” Spieth said.
Spieth’s waywardness off the tee continued at the par-4 10th, where he missed way left again. But he managed to steal a birdie after chipping in from left of the green.
“I was all over the place on that hole and somehow got a 3,” Spieth said.
On the next hole, the par-4 11th, Spieth almost holed out for eagle before making a stress-free birdie.
He almost made another eagle at the par-5 13th, getting a great bounce on his second shot from the right desert, but he missed a 4-footer and settled for a tap-in birdie.
Spieth’s shot of the day, in his mind, came at the par-5 15th, where he hit his second shot, a hybrid, from 265 yards to 25 feet on the island green to set up another birdie.
Then the big birdie putts started to fall again. Spieth drained a 36-footer on the famous par-3 16th, a day after three-putting the hole from 8 feet.
“I only wish this was last year,” Spieth said. “It was loud, but last year this would’ve been another level. Really cool.”
On the very next hole, Spieth converted from 30 feet after fanning his drive a little right.
A closing par gave Spieth his third-round 61 and kept him tied for the lead at 18 under, which is his second-best score in relation to par after 54 holes on Tour.