Jordan Spieth put himself on course for his first PGA Tour victory since May last year after opening up a commanding six-shot lead after a marathon third day of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
Spieth shared the halfway lead on 10 under when the second round concluded on Saturday morning, and he took advantage of vastly-improved conditions to fire a superb 65 at Pebble Beach.
Jason Day was tied for the lead after he closed out a second-round 64 at Spyglass Hill, where he had six holes to complete after the second day’s play was curtailed due to thick fog.
But the world No 1 made the short trip to Pebble Beach and endured a horror start to his third round, carding four bogeys and a double-bogey at the 14th – his fifth – as he turned in 41 before he salvaged a 75 with three birdies over his last four holes.
There were no such problems for Spieth, who was well-rested having completed 36 holes on schedule on Friday, as he birdied the first two holes although he gave a shot back when he missed the green with his approach to the ninth and failed to get up and down.
He atoned with a 15-foot putt for birdie at the next, and holed further efforts from 18 feet and nine feet at 10 and 11 respectively to go clear on his own at the top of the leaderboard.
Spieth added further birdies at 15 and 17, and he made it three in four holes after almost holing his pitch for eagle at the last as he closed on 17 under par.
Two-time champion Brandt Snedeker emerged as Spieth’s closest challenger following a remarkable front-nine 30, again at the signature course of the three layouts in play.
Snedeker started with a bogey at the 10th and dropped another shot at the 15th before a sublime approach to five feet at 16 set up a birdie which would help transform his round.
The Ryder Cup star reeled off three straight birdies from the second, parred the fifth and made another three birdies in a row before missing another great chance from six feet at the ninth which would have posted an outward 29.
Snedeker closed the day one ahead of Dustin Johnson, who was clearly inspired by playing alongside Spieth as he picked up three shots in five holes on the front nine and added further birdies at 13, 16 and 17 before scrambling a par at the last despite pulling his second shot into the ocean.
Johnson’s blemish-free 66 lifted him to 10 under alongside Kelly Kraft, who also returned a 66 at Pebble Beach, while New England Patriots fan Rob Oppenheim is alone in fifth on nine under after firing a 68 playing with Super Bowl-winning coach Bill Belichick.
Day got off to the worst possible start as he followed bogeys at 11 and 12 with an ugly double-bogey seven at the 14th after pulling his second shot out of bounds. He bogeyed the next before making a welcome birdie at 17, only to take three putts on the 18th green to drop another shot.
The Australian scrapped his way to another double-bogey at the short fifth, but he restored some of his damaged pride with four birdies over his last six holes to get back to seven under.
England’s Luke Donald enjoyed an eight-birdie 65 at Spyglass Hill as he vaulted to six under, one ahead of compatriot Justin Rose after the Olympic champion returned a solid 68 at Pebble Beach.