Jordan Spieth Among Leaders With Strong 3rd Round at 2018 British Open

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistJuly 21, 2018

CARNOUSTIE, SCOTLAND - JULY 21:  Jordan Spieth of the United States hits a bunker shot on the sixth hole during the third round of the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie Golf Club on July 21, 2018 in Carnoustie, Scotland.  (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Jordan Spieth ended Day 3 of the 2018 British Open tied for the lead with Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner, after shooting 65 at Carnoustie in Angus, Scotland on Saturday.

The defending champion started with an eagle before hitting three birdies over the back nine to finish as the clubhouse leader at six-under for the day and nine-under overall:

The European Tour @EuropeanTour

The defending champion leads. #TheOpen https://t.co/Y4CkWB7G06

The defending champion got his day started in style with an eagle on the first hole:

The Open @TheOpen

WHAT. A. START. 🚀 @JordanSpieth drives then green then holes the putt 🦅 https://t.co/ejTWtd9uY9

He was able to complete the hole with two shots to spare thanks to a terrific drive from the tee:


That drive at the 1st hole for @JordanSpieth ... He just drove the green at the 396-yard par 4. #TheOpen https://t.co/wro7yNmlHv

ESPN Stats & Info put the eagle into context:

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Jordan Spieth makes eagle at the 1st hole, the only player to eagle that hole in the last 3 Opens at Carnoustie

It was proof Spieth was comfortable trusting the driver on a tricky course in unpredictable conditions. The powerful first shot also set the tone for Spieth's determined approach to make quick work of the front nine.

Pars followed on the next two holes before the 24-year-old sunk a birdie at the fourth. The birdie moved Spieth into a tie for the lead at six-under.

Hitting par at the fifth, sixth and seventh kept Spieth firmly in control of his own fate, with some already anticipating a successful title defense:

Will Gray @WillGrayGC

Spieth subconsciously knowing exactly what he needs to do to stay one shot ahead of Kuchar is just mean.

Kyle Porter @KylePorterCBS

Where were you when you realized Spieth was going back to back?

However, Spieth was overtaken by Kisner at the top of the leaderboard and could only manage pars to close out the front nine.

Spieth began the back nine with another par before a birdie at the par-four 11th put him just one shot adrift.

Another birdie on the par-five 14th helped make Spieth the outright leader and kept a potential piece of history alive:

bunkered @BunkeredOnline

Never in the history of the game have there been successful US Open and Open defences in the same year. 2017 US Open champ: Brooks Koepka 2017 Open champ: Jordan Spieth 2018 US Open champ: Brooks Koepka Jordan Spieth currently tied for the lead at the 2018 Open. #TheOpen https://t.co/SSfkZp7GWC

A birdie putt on the 16th put more history in Spieth's sights:

Joel Beall @JoelMBeall

Jordan Spieth is now solo leader at the Open. If he wins, he'll join Tiger Woods and Bobby Jones as the only players with 4+ majors before 25

Finding par over the final two holes meant Spieth closed out his round in style. In the process, he maintained a strong recent run at The Open:

Mike O'Malley @GD_MikeO

Seven of Jordan Spieth's last eight rounds in the Open have been in the 60s: 2016 (Troon): Final-round 68 2017 (Birkdale): 65-69-65-69 2018 (Carnoustie): 72-67-65

Spieth had begun the day three shots off the lead, but he offered a timely reminder he's still the player to beat.