SHANGHAI — Even with two major wins, five total victories, a FedEx Cup title and more than $22 million in earnings this year, Jordan Spieth offered an honest appraisal about the final World Golf Championships event of 2015. He really didn't think he would have much of a chance in the HSBC Champions.
Now he does.
The third round at Sheshan International ended Saturday in the dark with Kevin Kisner leading by one; Russell Knox choosing to return this morning to finish the round and see if he could tie Kisner; Dustin Johnson playing mistake free to pull within one; and Li Haotong giving China hope that one of its own could win on a world stage.
And then there was Spieth, right where he has been for so much of the year.
"My theory on the tour and trying to win is your lead is never safe because some guy is going to make birdies," said Kisner, the second-round leader, after 2-under 70 had him at 16-under 200.
"Look at Jordan (Saturday). … I don't even know where he started, and he was on the leaderboard."
Some 24 hours earlier, Spieth was 12 shots behind and wondering if he could even make another par. He ended Friday with two birdies and then raced up the leaderboard in soft conditions with 9-under 63 to go from the middle of the pack to three shots behind.
"This will be the first and only time I would say this, but I was not expecting myself to be in this position come Sunday when the week started," Spieth said, smiling. "I came in with very little confidence in my trust of what I'm trying to do in my swing. … I'm extremely pleased just to be in contention."
Johnson, who won the HSBC Champions the last time he was in the event two years ago, had made 10 birdies in his past 21 holes and shot 65. Li wasted no time getting the Chinese gallery fired up when he opened with four straight birdies on his way to a 66 that had him also one shot back.
Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler each shot 68 and were eight shots behind.
Champions: Michael Allen held on to the lead in the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship, and playing partner Bernhard Langer pulled within a stroke to easily remain in position to take the points title at Scottsdale, Ariz. Allen shot a 1-under 69 for a 12-under 198 total. Langer birdied the final two holes for 68. Mark O'Meara (66), Stephen Ames (67) and Billy Andrade (70) were tied for third at 8 under.
LPGA: Jenny Shin shot 7-under 65 to take a one-stroke lead at 13-under 131 over Ha-Neul Kim (66) in the Toto Japan Classic at Shima. Shin, the 2006 U.S. Girls' Junior champion, is winless in five seasons on the tour. First-round co-leader Angela Stanford (68) was in a group of three at 11 under. First-round co-leader Ryann O'Toole (70) was in a large group at 9 under.
PGA: Rain washed out all but 40 minutes of play in the Sanderson Farms Championship, further delaying the waterlogged event at Jackson, Miss. Roberto Castro, who completed his second round Friday, still held a four-shot clubhouse lead at 15-under 129 with 76 players yet to complete the round. Play, delayed for a second day by heavy rain, was set to resume early today. Tournament officials were prepared to extend play into Monday if 72 holes couldn't be completed by darkness today.