Jordan Spieth carded two eagles while posting a sizzling 10-under-par 61 to take a two-stroke lead over Danny Lee of New Zealand, who had a 62, after three rounds of the John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill.
Spieth, who will turn 22 later this month, hit his approach from 259 yards to within three feet for an eagle on the second hole, and then holed his approach shot from 106 yards on No. 17 in his bogey-free round.
After opening with a 71 following two weeks off after winning the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay, Spieth shot 64 on Friday and has played his last 32 holes in 17-under, including three eagles.
“I just needed to get some more repetitions,” said Spieth, who next week will try to join Ben Hogan (1953) as the only players to win the first three majors of the year in the modern era. “I practiced with my coach last week, but didn’t play much golf.
“The pro-am (at the John Deere, which he won in 2013), was a little rough and so was the first round. But then I started hitting the ball more solidly and started making some putts.
“To go low, you have to make putts, and once I started seeing the ball go in the hole, it gave me a lot of confidence.”
Lee, who claimed his first PGA Tour victory last week in a playoff over David Hearn of Canada, Kevin Kisner and Robert Streb in the Greenbrier Classic, birdied four of the first six holes and added five more birdies on the back nine.
Rookie Justin Thomas, who held at least a share of the lead after each of the first two rounds with scores of 63-67, carded a 69 and was three shots back in a tie for third with Shawn Stefani, who recorded a 64, and Johnson Wagner, who wound up at 68.
Zach Johnson, who won the John Deere in 2012, eagled the second hole in a bogey-free 66 and was four strokes behind in a tie for sixth with Daniel Summerhays, who totaled 68, and Tom Gillis, who came in at 69.
Kevin Chappell of Fresno and UCLA, made a six-foot eagle putt on the 17th hole on his way to a 64 and was another shot behind in a tie for ninth with Luke Guthrie, who had a 67, and Will Wilcox, who finished at 69.