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Rory McIlroy 12 shots off the lead at the Phoenix Open as Spieth shines

Jordan Spieth shot an incredible 61 to take a tie of the lead heading into the final round.

Jordan Spieth shot a 61 today.
Jordan Spieth shot a 61 today.
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

THE DAY BELONGED to Jordan Spieth, no question about that, after the American posted a round of 10-under, 61.

The former world No1 has not won a competition since The Open in 2017 and up until recently he looked like dropping out of the top 100 in the world rankings.

Today he looked unbeatable as he holed birdie after birdie, 10 in total, four on the way out, six on the way in. Plus there were no bogeys.

It looked like the old Spieth, or rather the younger Spieth, the player who won 11 times on the PGA tour from 2013 to 2017, who spent 26 weeks as the world’s No. 1 player. He is now 92nd. 

He hasn’t played like the world’s 92nd best golfer this week. He shot a 67 in round one. And another 67 in round two. Now a 61.  

“I’m as hard on myself as anybody is on me, and I’m as confident in myself as anybody is in me at different stages,” Spieth said. “It’s really just — I love the game. I want to play with freedom. I want to win golf tournaments, and I want to get myself back. I’ve put in the hours. It’s just a matter of kind of working really smart, working on the right things, and then again, trusting it and just being OK with that patience of not having to see results right away. It’s a new thing for me.

“I’m still certainly not at 100 per cent, not feeling like I have my “A” game, but I feel like it’s trending that direction, which gives me a lot of confidence.

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“It’s nice to have been there and been able to be the best in the world. You know you can do it. And so for me, it’s about, again, more the feels than it is the results right now, and obviously, if I get in the thick of things on this weekend, then I’ll tap into that competitiveness that I love to have.

“And, hopefully, it’ll be a very confident competitiveness drawing back on good memories.”

Spieth is tied for the lead with Xander Schauffele, who finished in a second-place tie last week at Torrey Pines. Schauffele played the back nine in 4-under 32 for a 66.

McIlroy meanwhile is tied for 36th after he shot a 70 today. 

The Ulsterman got off to a fine start, getting a birdie on the second before he bogeyed the par five third.

After that it was a run of pars from the fourth through the 17th. He finished with a birdie three at the last.

Ranked second in terms of driving distance, McIlroy’s putting stats are less impressive. He is 91st in the PGA rankings this season for putts per round.

About the author:

Garry Doyle

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