Phoenix Open 2021: Jordan Spieth Fires Career-Best 61, Tied with Schauffele
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Phoenix Open 2021: Jordan Spieth Fires Career-Best 61, Tied with Schauffele

Gregory Bull/Associated Press

With three rounds of the Waste Management Phoenix Open finished, Jordan Spieth and Xander Schauffele are tied at 18 under.

Spieth caught fire Saturday, carding a 10-under 61—the best single round of his career—to rocket up the leaderboard. Schauffele led Steve Stricker and Keegan Bradley by one shot heading into the day, and his six-under 65 helped him keep pace with Spieth.

Having missed the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open, Spieth put together two solid rounds at TPC Scottsdale. He explained Friday how his confidence was “probably higher than it’s been in a long time.”

Still certainly not at 100, not feeling like I have my A-game, but I feel like it’s trending that direction, which gives me a lot of confidence,” the three-time major winner told reporters.

Those weren’t empty words as Spieth made the turn at five under and collected back-to-back birdies to start his back nine.

Everything clicked for the 27-year-old. According to PGATour.com, he averaged his furthest distance off the tee (320.4 yards) of the tournament while reaching all but two greens in regulation and gaining 2.490 putting strokes.

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

Jordan’s always talking to his golf ball.

It’s listening this week @WMPhoenixOpen. https://t.co/4ezAZTKUug

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

Jordan Spieth is fired up.

He’s back on top.

#QuickHits https://t.co/XmORGlN7Mk

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

He does it again‼️

@JordanSpieth leads by one @WMPhoenixOpen.

#QuickHits https://t.co/WpKZ9r4y2F

Spieth’s birdie on No. 10 was a prime example of how he benefited from his fair share of luck when things did go wrong. His tee shot sailed well past the fairway and into the native area, and his second-shot approach wound up in the rough to the left of the green’s top edge.

He still managed to find the bottom of the cup from 68 feet out.

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

You’re seeing it.

@JordanSpieth. Co-leader.

#QuickHits https://t.co/GBCkL5GtgE

Spieth’s last PGA Tour win came in the 2017 Open Championship. Plenty of golf fans will be rooting the Texan on come Sunday, and TPC Scottsdale will be rocking if he’s in a position to win on the final hole.

Brendan Quinn @BFQuinn

Last non-Olympian athlete or team to garner as much *universal support* from his or her sport’s fans as Jordan Spieth is going to get tomorrow?

That puts Schauffele in the role of the spoiler.

The 27-year-old had a somewhat uneven front nine, bogeying No. 2 before three birdies got him to two under. Things really turned around as he approached the 13th tee.

Schauffele reeled off three straight birdies to climb to within a shot of Spieth. Another birdie on No. 17 gave him a share of the lead.

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

Not going away!

@XSchauffele birdies the 14th to get to 16-under.

#QuickHits https://t.co/FKS1vgXMQt

His approach on No. 18 left him with a 12-foot birdie putt to take first place for himself. The ball rolled to the left of the cup, forcing him to settle for par.

As the final round plays out, the Waste Management Phoenix Open may not be a two-horse race between Spieth and Schauffele. Scottie Scheffler and Kyoung-Hoon Lee both shot five under to sit at 15 under, and Louis Oosthuizen and Justin Thomas are sitting four shots back at 14 under.

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