Jordan Spieth announced himself to the rest of the 2018 Open Championship field on the first tee on Saturday. Sure, Spieth had completed an under-the-radar first two rounds after which he sat just a few strokes back of the lead, but the real warning siren came when he pulled driver at the first.
Spieth, who said he kind of wanted to "send it" on No. 1 despite caddie Michael Greller saying he liked the lay up, drove the green at the par-4 first hole and sank the putt for eagle to get within one of the lead with several games still to go off behind him. Then he constructed one of the best rounds of the week as he made four more birdies and no bogeys en route to a 6-under 65 and the lead at 9 under at the time he finished. Spieth sits atop the leaderboard with Kevin Kisner and Xander Schauffele.
Today was a really, really solid day. I felt like everything was moving in the right direction over the last few weeks, and certainly it came through. Jordan Spieth
It was vintage Spieth, or at least as vintage as a 24-year-old's rounds can be. Healthy par saves, tight irons, aggressive putts and a collection of his thoughts and his wayward shots in order that he might reorient them and this entire tournament to himself. This is what he does.
"Today was a really, really solid day," Spieth told Golf Channel. "I felt like everything was moving in the right direction over the last few weeks, and certainly it came through."
Spieth birdied No. 4, No. 11, the easy par-5 14th and then he exacted a little revenge on the par-3 16th, a hole he bogeyed each of the first two days. He said his goal was just to hit the green and make a par. He did one better. The long, brutish hole led to a pair of 4s coming home for Spieth in Round 1 and Round 2, but on Saturday it led to his closing act.
Photos From the Open Championship
CARNOUSTIE, SCOTLAND - JULY 16: Jordan Spieth of the United States, winner of the 146th Open Championship, carries the Claret Jug onto the first tee as he returns it during previews ahead of the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie Golf Club on July 16, 2018 in Carnoustie, Scotland. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
CARNOUSTIE, SCOTLAND - JULY 16: Jordan Spieth of the United States, winner of the 146th Open Championship, carries the Claret Jug onto the first tee as he returns it during previews to the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie Golf Club on July 16, 2018 in Carnoustie, Scotland. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/R&A/R&A via Getty Images)
The 2017 Open champ birdied the hole at 7:25 p.m. local time, and for the first time all day, he led the tournament alone with the rest of the field behind him. Chasing a leader at a major is one thing. Chasing a three-time major winner who could not be more built for links golf if he was the offspring of Young Tom Morris is quite another.
"You just have to have great shot after great shot after great shot (over the final few holes)," Spieth told Golf Channel. "You just miss one of them and you never know what lie you're going to get."