Spieth, Kiz, Schauffele tied atop 147th Open

Jordan Spieth had to give the Claret Jug back to the R&A early this week, but he has his mind set on getting it back.

Defending champion and sixth-ranked Spieth made a 10-foot eagle putt on the first hole to kick-start a bogey-free, 6-under-par 65 and is tied for the lead with Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner heading to the final round of the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie Golf Links in Angus, Scotland.

“(The eagle putt) was a little left-to-right slider,” said Spieth, who is seeking his fourth major title before turning 25 next Sunday. “It was nice to see a putt that breaks a little bit because there are so many straight putts out here, and it was great to see it go in. I found a little something with my putting, made a little adjustment and the putter feels really good. I feel like I’ve been heading in the right direction the last couple weeks.

“It was a real solid 6-under round and I feel like I’ve been improving every day. Obviously, there’s a tough day ahead tomorrow. So many things can happen in an Open Championship on a Sunday.”

Schauffele, of La Jolla and San Diego State, birdied three of the last five holes, including a 30-foot putt on the final hole, to shoot 67, while Kisner, who has had at least a share of the lead after each of the first three rounds, had a bogey-free 68.

The leaders finished 54 holes at 9-under 204.

“It was fun, obviously, because those are really tough holes coming in,” said Schauffele, who won twice last season, including the Tour Championship, on his way to being the PGA Tour’s Rookie of the Year. “I looked (at the putt on the last hole) and for some reason it looked good to me. I said, ‘I’m going to make it,’ and it went in.

“Today was the latest I’ve every teed off and it’s going to be even later tomorrow. I’m really looking forward to it. … If somebody had told me I would be tied for the lead after Saturday, I would have taken it. We’re looking forward to some real Open conditions tomorrow.”

Said Kisner, who has won twice on the PGA Tour but is looking for his first major title: “It got brutal on the last four holes, the toughest stretch on the golf course. With the wind blowing, it’s all you want. It’s gonna be fun coming down the stretch tomorrow. I understand the wind is going to blow and it’s going to be a dogfight.”

Kevin Chappell of Fresno and UCLA birdied the first three holes in a 67 and is two strokes back in solo fourth, while Francesco Molinari of Italy, who has two victories and two seconds in his last four starts world-wide, is three behind in fourth after a flawless 65.

Tiger Woods, who won the last of his 14 major titles 10 years ago in the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, played early and was tied for the lead before making his only bogey at No. 16 in a 66.

Woods is four down in a tie for sixth with eighth-ranked and 2014 Open champion Rory McIlroy (70) of Northern Ireland, Webb Simpson (67), Tommy Fleetwood (71) of England, Alex Noren (67) of Sweden, Matt Kuchar (70) and second-round co-leader Zach Johnson (72).

Third-ranked Justin Rose of England is tied for 13th after equaling the course record with a bogey-free 64 that included five birdies on the back nine, while 2015 Open champion Phil Mickelson totaled 70 and is in a tie for 36th that includes seventh-ranked Rickie Fowler of Murrieta, who stumbled to a 73.

Ninth-ranked Jason Day of Australia totaled 71 and is tied for 51st, and fourth-ranked Brooks Koepka, who has won the last two U.S. Opens, is tied for 61st after struggling to a 75.

For complete results, visit https://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html.

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