Pieters leads way, Spieth and McIlroy close behind

Ebony Scott
August 5, 2017

And it gave Spieth a chance to set the record straight on Wednesday. He is feeling as good as ever about his game, particularly the way he finished off Royal Birkdale with the fantastic escape on the 13th hole and the birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie stretch that followed.

The look on Spieth's face after the ball drops says it all.

"It really wasn't that bad", he said. And in the third round, when he was mounting a proper challenge, he hit a couple of loose shots that reminded us of just how fallible he can be. It was a foul ball to the right. It's three years. I went from a single man to a married man.

He said Royal Birkdale already has asked to have a replica of the 3-iron he hit from the range, "which means that's going to be the shot that's pictured there and remembered there, unfortunately".

An opportunity presents itself at next week's PGA Championship at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, N.C. Jordan Spieth, the closest thing to Woods since Tiger himself (but without the off-course baggage), will attempt to become the youngest ever to complete golf's career Grand Slam.

Spieth, who is coming off wins at the Travelers Championship and The (British) Open, had five birdies and two bogeys.

We make our second and final trip to OH for the 2017 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, which is played in Akron at the Firestone Country Club.

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Dustin Johnson is still short of fitness according to Butch Harmon, and the likes of Jason Day and Henrik Stenson appear crippled by a lack of confidence, while Sergio Garcia will be basking in marital bliss after getting hitched over the weekend.

Rory McIlroy thinks he is the defending champion, too. After a poor stretch, missing the cut in three of four tournaments, he placed fourth at The Open Championship.

LAST YEAR: Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand captured her first major title, shooting even-par 72 to beat 2014 champion Mo Martin and Mirim Lee of South Korea by three strokes at Woburn Golf Club near Milton Keynes, England. "I felt I handled the whole week really well before that", said Day.

It will be a different one, for sure. It will also be the Northern Irishman's first appearance without the services of J.P. Fitzgerald as his caddie following their split last week after a nine-year working relationship. "I managed to find a lot of greens today".

Spieth has no such issues. As it turns out, Spieth's memorable call to Greller of "go get that" after his eagle on No. 15 at Birkdale now has a distant relative.

Yet only one of them walked off the green with a birdie - and it wasn't McIlroy.

Spieth also received written notes from Jack Nicklaus and former President George W. Bush. Spieth turned 24 on July 27. Spieth recalls arriving at St. Andrews and "felt so free", he said. "I think I'm in form, and form is a huge part of being in contention". I like those odds for him as I feel like he is playing as well as anyone over the past few months.

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