Spieth has learned from Masters humbling

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Spieth nearly sinks delightful approach to 3rd
2017 Open Championship on the BBC
Venue: Royal Birkdale Dates: 20-23 July
Live: Listen to BBC Radio 5 live commentary and follow text updates – including in-play video clips – on BBC Sport website and mobile app. TV highlights on BBC Two. Click for full times.
Third-round leaderboard
-11 Spieth (US); -8 Kuchar (US); -5 Connelly (Can), Koepka (US); -4 Grace (SA), Matsuyama (Jpn); -3 Johnson (US), Stenson (Swe), Kim (US), Cabrera-Bello (Spa); -2 Fisher (Eng), McIlroy (NI), Ramsay (Sco), Poulter (Eng)
Selected others:-1 Fowler (US), Bland (Eng); E Day (Aus), Casey (Eng), Johnston (Eng), Fitzpatrick (Eng), Garcia (Spa); +1 Fleetwood (Eng);+3 Plant (a) (Eng) Full leaderboard

Jordan Spieth says he will “not get ahead” of himself despite holding a three-shot lead going into the final round of The Open at Royal Birkdale.

The two-time major winner says he will draw on his experience at the 2016 Masters, when he squandered a five-shot lead with nine holes remaining.

Spieth’s five-under par 65 on Saturday put him on 11 under, three ahead of American compatriot Matt Kuchar.

“I’ve had the high and the humbling,” said world number three Spieth, 23.

The Open 2017: Ricky Fowler, Rory McIlroy & Hideki Matsuyama in best shots for Day 3

Victory on Sunday would make Spieth only the second player after Jack Nicklaus, who won a record 18 majors, to have won three of the game’s four biggest prizes before the age of 24.

“That would be incredible,” he added. “But I’ve had a five-shot lead in a major and squandered it before. I will keep my head down and not get ahead of myself.”

Spieth is the only player to finish every round under par this week and could become the youngest Open winner since a 22-year-old Seve Ballesteros in 1979.

He added: “Everything I’ve gone through, both good and bad, is advantageous for me. If I win tomorrow, I’ll still be learning and it all goes into my process.

“Tomorrow will be emotionally draining but I need to stay neutral in my head.”


Iain Carter, BBC Sport golf correspondent at Royal Birkdale

The one thing that needs to be remembered is Spieth had a five-shot lead going into the back nine of the Masters last year.

It was impossible to see that collapse then as it is to see now. We are seeing a remarkable career developing.

McIlroy’s missed opportunity

Rory McIlroy has struggled since returning from a rib injury this year

Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy had been three under through five holes, but dropped shots on the seventh and eighth, and a double bogey on the 10th saw him card a disappointing 69.

“Usually you come off Royal Birkdale shooting under par and you would be pretty pleased,” said McIlroy, who is tied for 11th on two under.

“But it was so benign out there today and you needed to shoot at least four of five under par to feel like you were making ground out there – and I didn’t.”

The world number four added: “It’s hard to think ‘big picture’ now, I’m just off the golf course and I’m a little disappointed.

“I definitely feel like today was an opportunity lost to get right in the mix going into tomorrow.”

‘No excuses’ for fuming Poulter

Ian Poulter made four bogeys between holes eight and 13, as many as he made in his previous 43 holes

World number 78 Ian Poulter could not hide his frustration following his one-over-par 71, summing up his feelings with a number of expletives as he spent around a minute with reporters.

“I made one bogey yesterday in all those treacherous conditions we had and then I made five bogeys today,” said Poulter, 41.

“It’s not good enough, simple as that. There were too many stupid mistakes.”

The Englishman came through a qualifier at Woburn to win a place at The Open and sat three shots off the pace going into the third round.

But a run of three bogeys on holes 10, 11 and 12 followed a birdie on nine which he hoped would have got “some adrenaline going”.

He added: “It’s disappointing, extremely disappointing – easy conditions and the greens were soft. No excuses. From a three-putt at the first, which was poor… it’s a real shame.”

Kuchar ‘excited’ about Claret Jug chances

Matt Kuchar has recorded eight top-10 finishes at a major without winning one

Kuchar, 39, made his Open debut at Royal Birkdale in 1998 and is back bidding for his first top-five finish at The Open at the 12th attempt.

The American was two shots behind playing partner Spieth at the start of the third round, moving within one after a birdie at 14, before a double bogey on 16 helped Spieth move clear.

“I am excited to be in the position I’m in,” said Kuchar.

“Three shots off the lead, I’ve got a great chance with a good day to win the Claret Jug.

“There aren’t many other players in the field, even if they have a great final day, who can say that.”

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