Spieth, Schauffele Share Lead After Near Record-Breaking Performances in Saturday’s Third Round
It was a day for nearly broken records at “The People’s Open” for Saturday’s third round with almost perfect weather as a backdrop. Russell Henley tied the back-nine scoring record at TPC Scottsdale with five birdies and an eagle, joining five players including Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler to card 29’s. Jordan Spieth – in a return to major-champion form – came close to tying the TPC Scottsdale course record (60) with a third-round score of 61 – tying his lowest PGA TOUR round ever. Xander Schauffele missed the back-nine scoring record (29) by one stroke as well, carding a 30 at the “Stadium Stretch” thanks to four birdies and an eagle on the par-5 15th to finish 6-under for the day. Both Spieth and Schauffele are tied for the lead heading into Sunday’s final round at 18-under par, with Henley 8-back at 10-under.
It won’t be just a two-man show during Sunday’s final and there’s still a lot of golf to be played with a bunch of heavy hitters sitting atop the leaderboard. Scottie Scheffler and Kyoung-Hoon Lee are tied for second and three off the pace at 15-under par. Major championship winners Justin Thomas and Louis Oosthuizen are four shots off the lead at 14-under, and Former WM Phoenix Open champion Brooks Koepka, U.S. Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker and perennial WM Phoenix Open contender James Hahn are well within striking distance at 5-back of the lead. Will Zalatoris, who made the field thanks to a sponsor exemption, sits T-10 after his 7-under 64 in the second round.
Here are some of the notable quotes from the leaders at the 2021 WM Phoenix Open.
PGA TOUR: We haven’t seen in this golf [from you] in a long time.
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, it’s true. I mean, it really actually felt normal. It’s not felt normal this week because we haven’t been used it. Then all of a sudden today, when you kind of get in the thick of things, and the crowd was feeding off and really willing those putts in with me…that was pretty neat.
So tomorrow, again, the biggest thing for me is going to be to walk slowly, be patient, deep breaths, trust what I’m trusting. Just set a goal for the day for a score to shoot and play the holes the way they’re supposed to be played
PGA TOUR: It’s been almost two years since you posted a victory. What’s is your thought process going into the final round?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: This is good. This is what I need as a player. I have not won a lot in my career. Got off a couple quick ones on TOUR early and kind of lost my way for a second there.
So this is sort of what my team and I want, to be in contention, right there in the final group, and see how I can handle it.
PGA TOUR: A chance to win and you’ll be chasing down your good buddy, Jordan. Talk about that. I know that’s an interesting situation because you guys are so close.
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, there is a lot of guys. It’s not I’m like I’m just chasing him. Xander is up there. There are plenty of other guys tied with me and right behind me. And this is a place you can go shoot 9- or 10-under, and someone at 10- or 11-under could go win this golf tournament.
I just need to go out and try to make as many birdies as I can and hope it’s good enough, and assess where I am with a couple holes to go, if I need to change the game plan.
Stay tuned to tomorrow’s final-round, roller coaster action. The final group at “The People’s Open” tomorrow features three former PGA TOUR Rookie-of-the-Year winners. Lurking behind are a group of former FedExCup Champions, Major title winners, WM Phoenix Open champions and some of the best the PGA TOUR has to offer who should make Sunday at the Waste Management Phoenix Open one of the most exciting finishing days in tournament history.
Click the button below to see Sunday’s final-round pairings.