Jordan Spieth fell further behind leader Brooks Koepka at Bethpage Black on Saturday, but even with a two-over 72, he remains near the top of the leaderboard.
As he looks for his first career PGA Championship victory, Spieth entered Day 3 seven strokes back of Koepka, tied with Adam Scott for second place. According to PGATour.com's Cameron Morfit, Koepka's record-breaking start helped him grab the largest 36-hole lead in PGA Championship history.
While Koepka continued to ride the momentum he built during the first two rounds, Spieth treaded water early Saturday. He came out of the gates by recording par on seven of the first eight holes, including each of the first four. Unfortunately for him, the lone exception was a bogey on hole No. 5.
As a result, he started to move the wrong way on the leaderboard as his deficit grew.
He further dug himself a hole with a double bogey on nine, giving him a front-nine score of 38.
Scott Bell @ScottBellDMN
Jordan Spieth's iron play has been really poor today. Outside of his approach at 6, I'd wager he hasn't had a single iron he'd say he was happy with on the front. He sprayed an iron shot left into a bunker on 9, leading to a double bogey, and showed visible signs of frustration.
Entering Saturday, he had managed six birdies on the front nine and had not recorded anything worse than par on 18 holes through the first two rounds. That ratio was completely opposite on this day, as he had zero birdies and two holes above par.
At that point, he faced double-digit deficit.
Spieth managed to get back on track on the back nine with consecutive birdies on 12 and 13:
That helped him make up some ground as he looked to keep pace in the race for second, though a bogey on 16 put a damper on his resurgence.
Given the way the front nine went, a 34 on the back nine was a much-needed boost as he heads into the final day. As CBS Sports' Kyle Porter pointed out Friday, falling off in the second half of tournaments has been a troubling trend for Spieth this season:
His third-round woes continued in New York, and it cost him. He now sits nine strokes back of Koepka in a four-way tie for eighth.
It appears it would take a miracle for Spieth to complete the career grand slam this year, but with 18 holes remaining at Bethpage Black, he still has the opportunity to make some noise on the leaderboard.