Thursday, December 14, 2017
Golf

Spieth extends lead to five in Hawaii

KAPALUA, Hawaii — Jordan Spieth is aware of the scoring record at Kapalua, and that's what he plans to pursue in today's final round of the Tournament of Champions.

Not because he cares that much about records. With the standard of golf played Saturday, it might be what it takes to assure another win for the world's No. 1 player.

Spieth put it all together on the back nine with a 50-foot birdie putt, two chips that showed why he's among the best with a wedge in his hand and a 3-iron that grazed the cup and set up a 10-foot eagle on the final hole. It added to 8-under 65 and a five-shot lead over Brooks Koepka.

Koepka, playing for only the second time in nearly three months, failed to birdie the two easiest holes and still had a career-best 63. Defending champ Patrick Reed was the only other player within nine shots of the lead. He shot 67 and was six behind.

Spieth, who was at 24-under 195, wasn't breathing easy yet.

"I was looking at the forecast. It's next to nothing on the wind, so you've got to expect Brooks, Patrick to shoot somewhere in the 7-under, 8-under range," Spieth said. "And if that's case, I've got to go out there and shoot in the 60s in order to win."

Spieth was sharp as ever in the year's first PGA Tour event. He was one shot off the 54-hole record at Kapalua that Ernie Els set in 2003 en route to winning at 31 under, the only player in tour history to finish a 72-hole event at 30 under or better.

A year ago when Spieth won the Hero World Challenge at Isleworth, he had a seven-shot lead entering the last round and a goal of reaching 20 under for the first time. He won by 10, finishing 26 under. The next target: 30 under. "I think it's a great goal to set, to try and set something to shoot for versus trying to look at behind you at who is coming up," he said.

NEW YEAR'S INVITATIONAL: Round 3 at the St. Petersburg Country Club was suspended due to rain. Today's round starts at 9 a.m. The Senior Division was able to finish with defending champ Dennis Monahan winning. Rob Bernadino won the Senior second flight.

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