Stunning finish leaves Spieth second behind Jones in Sydney

Sat Nov 28, 2015 3:19am EST
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By Nick Mulvenney

SYDNEY (Reuters) - World number one and reigning champion Jordan Spieth hit a stunning eagle at the 17th and birdied the last to move into second place behind local Matt Jones after the third round of the Australian Open on Saturday.

Overnight leader Jones watched Spieth's eagle shot from the 16th tee and responded by birdying his final two holes to card a three-under-par 68, moving to 10-under for the tournament and finishing three strokes clear of his American rival.

Spieth's 67 was the best round of the day and put him on seven-under, two shots better than Rhein Gibson (68) with two other Australians, Lincoln Tighe (70) and Aron Price (70), in a share of fourth on four-under.

It had looked like being a third day of frustration for Spieth in the crosswinds at the Australian Golf Club, especially after he dropped shots at three of his first four holes.

The head shakes and arm swipes turned into a beaming smile, however, when he whipped an eight iron 181 yards towards the flag on the par-four 17th and watched as the ball bounced twice before trickling into the hole.

The 22-year-old narrowly missed an eagle putt at the last after a superb approach shot but tapped in for birdie, giving himself every chance of back-to-back titles in Sunday's final round.

"It was obviously quite a fortunate break on the 17th to go in," Spieth said.

"And now I'm well in contention and likely in the last group, whether it's three or four behind, it's a lot better than I'd thought it would be after four holes."   Continued...

Members of the crowd watch as U.S. golfer Jordan Spieth (C) hit a shot during the first round of the Australian Open golf tournament at the Australian Golf Club in Sydney, Australia, November 26, 2015.  REUTERS/Steve Christo