Jordan Spieth put together another back nine filled with birdies and built a three-shot lead going into the final round of the Northern Trust.
Spieth seized control with three straight birdies starting on the 14th hole at Glen Oaks Club in Old Westbury, N.Y. He shot 31 on the back nine for a six-under-par 64 to match the low round of the tournament. Spieth has never lost on the PGA Tour when leading by two shots or more going into the final round.
Dustin Johnson holed a four-foot birdie on the 18th hole for a three-under 67 to cut into the deficit Saturday and get into the final pairing.
Spieth shot a 30 on the back nine on Friday. The 24-year-old Texan, with a record as a strong closer, will be going for his fourth victory this year. Based on the last few months, however, his record only looks good on paper.
“It’s easier to win from that position. You’ve got an advantage on the field,” Spieth said. “But look at my last lead — three shots, and that was gone by the fourth hole. Anything can happen on Sunday.”
He was referring to the British Open, where he lost a comfortable lead in the first hour, finally fell behind on the 13th hole and then put together one of the best finishing stretches in major championship history at Royal Birkdale to beat Matt Kuchar.
He could have just as easily been referring to The Travelers a month earlier, where he struggled so mightily with his putting that he had to save par from a bunker to get into a playoff, then won on the first extra hole by holing a bunker shot.
“I imagine it’s not like guys that were chasing Tiger where you almost feel hopeless and you try and do all you can,” Spieth said. “Because I’ve shown that things can get a little off, and have to get back on track.”