Spieth leads British Open

SOUTHPORT, England – Jordan Spieth led the British Open by three shots and Branden Grace posted the lowest score at a men’s major championship in a dramatic third round at sun-kissed Royal Birkdale yesterday.

American Spieth fired a flawless 65 to finish on 11-under 199, three clear of his compatriot Matt Kuchar (66) while South African Grace conjured up a majestic 62 to achieve what no player had done in 441 previous majors.

There have been 31 rounds of 63 in the sport’s biggest tournaments and Grace’s feat prompted a standing ovation at the 18th green as he saluted the packed galleries at Royal Birkdale.

“I honestly had no idea that was something historic,” the world number 35 told reporters.

“I knew I was playing well and I was just in the zone. I didn’t know 62 was the lowest ever but now it makes it even more special. If my caddie knew he never said anything; good on him!”

Spieth, twice major champion, had taken time out from his warm-up session to watch Grace sink his final putt but the world number three was not distracted.

The 23-year-old calmly collected three birdies on the front nine and with Kuchar keeping pace, the pair kept the rest of the field at arm’s length.

Kuchar wobbled with a double-bogey at the 16th before fighting back to birdie the 17th on the way to a 66 and Spieth drained a 12-foot putt at the last to give himself a cushion as he bids for a first British Open title.

“It was a really solid round and I’m very pleased with the position I’m in,” Spieth told reporters.

“Mentally, it was quite tough today knowing the conditions were good for scoring. But I made a nice start with the birdie at three and I didn’t have too much stress in the round.”

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