Spieth third-round leader at Colonial, seeks 1st win in Texas

Jordan Spieth (Ralph Lauer/ Getty Images)

FORT WORTH, Texas – Jordan Spieth shot a 5-under 65, even while missing a lot of fairways and a few greens, to take the third-round lead Saturday at Colonial.

The second-ranked Spieth was alone in the lead at the Dean & Deluca Invitational after three birdies and a huge par save in a four-hole stretch in the middle of his round. At 12-under 198, he was one stroke ahead of Colonial member Ryan Palmer and Webb Simpson.

Palmer overcame consecutive early bogeys to shoot 66. Simpson shot 67 after 3-foot par putt at the 18th hole for a share of the lead lipped out of the cup.

Adam Hadwin (70) of Abbotsford, B.C., David Hearn (73) of Brantford, Ont., and Nick Taylor (73), also of Abbotsford, are the Canadians in the field.

None of Spieth’s seven PGA Tour victories have come in his home state of Texas. The 22-year-old Dallas native tied for second at Hogan’s Alley last year, one of his three runner-up finishes in the Lone Star State.

Spieth drove into only three of 14 fairways, and hit only 11 of 18 greens in regulation. He drove into the rough and was short of the green on his approach at No. 18, but held his hand over his mouth in some disbelief after his 9-foot par chance slid by the hole for his only bogey.

After a 12-foot birdie at No. 9 to make the turn at 10 under, Spieth’s approach at No. 10 went over the green before pitching to about 9 feet and making that putt to save par. He then chipped in from off the front of the green at the 615-yard 11th and hit his approach within a foot at the 12th for another birdie and stayed along at top of the leaderboard after that.

Spieth went into the final round last weekend at the Byron Nelson alone in second place before a closing 74 that left him tied for 18th in the Irving event where six years ago he played his first PGA Tour as a 16-year-old amateur and tied for 16th.

Simpson pumped his fist from the bunker at No. 14 after blasting in for a birdie to get back the stroke he lost on the par-3 13th when he missed the green with his tee shot. He followed both of his bogeys at par 3s immediately with birdies, including a 12-footer at No. 9 after also missing the green at the 194-yard eighth.

Martin Piller, in the final group with Spieth and Simpson for the third round, had to play 12 holes earlier in the day to complete the second round that had been suspended by darkness Friday after a 5 1/2-hour weather delay.

Spieth and Simpson both finished their second rounds Friday, so only had to play 18 holes Saturday.

Piller shot a 68 and was tied for fourth at 10 under with Harris English (64) and Kyle Reifers (67).

Like Spieth, Piller was born in Dallas. But Piller lives in north Fort Worth and his wife, LPGA Tour player Gerina Piller, is at Colonial with him while taking a week off her tour before an extended stretch apart for the couple.

Matt Kuchar, ranked 20th in the world, had a bogey-free 63 for his best score in 33 career rounds at Colonial, where he was the runner-up three years ago and had finished his second round Friday with a triple-bogey.

Kuchar moved up 35 places, from a tie for 44th to a tie for ninth, after a 13-foot birdie chance at No. 18 slid by the hole.

Abbotsford, B.C., native Adam Hadwin led the Canadian contingent with an even-par 70 and sits T15. David Hearn of Brantford, Ont., carded a 73 and holds a share of 24th. Nick Taylor, also of Abbotsford, collected a trio of birdies and moved to T31.