Spieth turns in a beauty on a nasty day at British Open

Posted July 23, 2017

Roars told them Rory McIlroy had birdied three of his first five holes to move to four under. The enormity of the moment, as he walked between The Open's large blue bleachers packed with fans and its trademark yellow scoreboards, caused Spieth to cease his usual pre-shot routine, though. As Spieth's final-round tee time approaches, EAGLE gives the 23-year-old Texan a 77-percent chance of winning.

Kuchar felt a similar sentiment. Can Kuchar play his best round of golf in his life to win the Claret Jug in upset fashion?

"I was hitting it well, couldn't have asked to get off to a better start", McIlroy said. He'd have been a shot closer to the lead but for a closing bogey but is still in the hunt, as is Connelly after the 20-year-old, who, like Spieth, lives in Dallas, continued to enjoy a dream debut.

Kuchar finds himself in second place at -8 overall after putting up a 4-under, 66 on Saturday. - Jordan Spieth on playing with the lead.

He extended his advantage over Saturday's final three holes, as Kuchar suffered a double-bogey at the par-4 16th and then couldn't match Spieth's birdie at the final hole.

"Usually you come off Royal Birkdale shooting under par and you would be pretty pleased", said McIlroy, who is tied for 11th on two under. The player going through the motions on the front nine Thursday looked nothing like the victor of four major championships, including this very Open. His breakout season was only 2015, but Spieth has been some sort of a factor in almost every major he's played over the past three years.

DUSTIN JOHNSON is warming up. And then I've had a lot of rest.

"It was a special round from the start and when you get it going you just want to make even more birdies". Spieth holed a putt for birdie from the fringe as Kuchar made par. Only eight players broke par, and some were shellshocked, like former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel.

The tone for today's final round was set over the final three holes, when Kuchar made his double bogey. Other short odds to win are Matt Kuchar (+400) and Brooks Koepka (+2200).

Spieth's white ball shone in the gloaming as it flew towards the sixth green. But Spieth sank the putt and looked directly at caddie Michael Greller as he pumped his fist. Indeed benign conditions were ideal for scoring, as South Africa's Branden Grace made history by becoming the first player to shoot 62 in a Major championship.

Branden Grace was the lowest of all, making a run at the major championship record of 63. Conditions of receptive, beautifully textured greens, were flawless for his irresistible putting touch, and he extracted an appropriate return to be 11 under par and three strokes clear of Matt Kuchar. You've got nothing to lose now, obviously.

If Spieth can finish Sunday what he has constructed over three grinding rounds at Royal Birkdale, he will be three-quarters of the way to the career Grand Slam at 24 and come to the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow Club in three weeks looking to join the most exclusive club in professional golf.

That included a mis-hit fairway wood on the 15th which got just a few feet off the ground, but ended up 15 feet from the hole to set up an eagle for the 2015 Masters and US Open champion.

Matt Kuchar's record of played 12 Opens, missed the cut in six of them before this one would not inspire confidence that he can go the whole way, but hats off to the ever popular "Kooch", he earned his right with rounds of 65 and 71. The R&A put the onus on attacking play, moving several tees forward and providing players with hole locations that encouraged aggressive tactics. The forecast calls for some sunny spells during the afternoon with only a 20 percent chance of showers.