DESPITE finishing just one under par on the day, Jordan Spieth managed to hold on to his lead and even separate himself slightly from the pack on Saturday at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in Pebble Beach, California.
As the tournament moved exclusively to Pebble Beach Golf Links for the weekend, Spieth capitalized on his second hole-out eagle of the tournament — a 160-yard shot from the fairway on the par-4 No. 16 — to shoot 71 and move to 13-under 203, good for a two-shot lead over a five-pack of players.
The players tied for second place at 11 under are Nate Lashley (68 on Saturday), Tom Hoge (68), Patrick Cantlay (70), Daniel Berger (72), and Scotland’s Russell Knox (69).
Hot on their heels at 10 under and tied for seventh place are Australia’s Jason Day (68), Brian Stuard (69), Maverick McNealy (69), and England’s Paul Casey (71).
The 27-year-old Spieth, coming off his best result in nearly a year, tied for fourth place in the Waste Management Phoenix Open last week. It was his first top-10 finish since he tied for ninth at Pebble Beach in 2020 and his first top-20 result since the Memorial last July.
It was a tale of two nines Saturday for Spieth, who won the 2017 Pebble Beach event for one of his 11 career PGA Tour victories, but hasn’t been victorious since claiming the 2017 Open Championship. After a bogey on No. 2, he rebounded with birdies on Nos. 4, 6 and 9 before giving them all back with bogeys at Nos. 10, 12 and 14.
Then came the eagle at No. 16.
Spieth said of his 8-iron shot that landed in the cup, “In the air I thought it was going to be really good, it was one of the only shots I kind of said, ‘Oh, be good.’ And as it landed it was just exactly where I was trying to hit it, certainly a bonus for it to drop… It’s a good lesson to learn for tomorrow: how quickly things can change out here.”
“It’s just Jordan doing Jordan things,” Berger said regarding his reaction to seeing Spieth hole out.
Spieth said of his current mindset, “I’m finally consistently doing things over the last two weeks that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I think, obviously the more you continue to do that, the bounces go your way, like the hole out did today on 16.
“Someone may do that to me tomorrow or come shoot a 64 or something. I mean, it’s golf, and it’s Pebble Beach, and you can go low, and it can also be really challenging… What I’m asking for is a chance to win the golf tournament on 18.”
Berger was tied with Spieth at 13 under going into No. 18, but dropped two shots with a double bogey and finished even par for the day.
Kevin Streelman shot a bogey-free 67 to record the low round of the day. He started on the back and notched four birdies before posting one more after the turn, and he is tied for 13th place at 8 under.
Defending champion Nick Taylor of Canada posted an even-par 72 and is tied for 34th at 4 under. — Reuters