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Jordan Spieth birdies final hole to keep Travelers lead

CROMWELL, Conn. -- Jordan Spieth continues to play just a little better than anyone else at the Travelers Championship.

The 23-year-old Texan closed with a 20-foot birdie putt for a 4-under 66 on Saturday, giving him a one-stroke lead for the third straight round at TPC River Highlands.

For the third straight day, Jordan Spieth leads by one at the end of the round at the Travelers Championship. Brad Horrigan/Hartford Courant via AP
Spieth, in search of his 10th PGA Tour victory, could join Tiger Woods as the only golfers since 1983 with double-digit wins on the tour before their 24th birthdays.

After predicting earlier that it would take a score of 16 under to win, the two-time major champion took a 12-under 198 total into the final round.

Boo Weekley was second after a 65. The 43-year-old Weekley, playing just in front of Spieth, birdied five of the last eight holes, basking in the chants of "Boooo! Boooo!" from the raucous gallery.

Spieth bogeyed Nos. 13 and 14 but matched Weekley with three birdies on the final four holes, capping the run with the final shot of the round from below the hole.

"It's in the shadow," said Spieth, who is looking for his second win of the season. "I'm looking to hit the putt at the right speed. If it goes in, great. If it doesn't, so be it, tap it in. With a few feet to go, it was going to have a chance, and it curled right in the middle. That was a loud roar, and those are really fun to experience."

Weekley is looking for his fourth tour title and first since 2013. The colorful Floridian said he has been dealing with personal issues but declined to elaborate. His best result this season has been a tie for 37th at the Puerto Rico Open in March, and he has made just eight cuts in 21 events.

He acknowledged that it will be an odd final pairing Sunday.

"He loves to fish, so we've got a little in common there," Weekley said of Spieth. "So we can talk about that."

Daniel Berger, looking for his second victory of the month, was three strokes back after a 66.

C.T. Pan (64), David Lingmerth (65) and Paul Casey (66) were 8 under.

Because of morning showers, the players went off in threesomes from both the first and 10th tees. But the breeze helped the greens quickly dry out and play faster than had been expected.

Pan, who went out just after the rain ended, shot a bogey-free round. The 25-year-old former University of Washington star is looking for his third top-10 finish this season and his first since he finished second at Torrey Pines in January.

"It wasn't as windy, so I made birdies on three of my first four holes," Pan said. "That really helped my mindset and keep my momentum going."

Spieth hit his first six fairways and got his first birdie of the day on the sixth hole, when he chipped in from 30 feet behind the green. He made another birdie on the next hole before giving a shot back on No. 9. He repeated that pattern on the back nine, making birdies on 10 and 11 to go up by two strokes, then putting his tee shot into the water on 13. He bogeyed that hole and 14.

But on No. 15, his chip from the greenside bunker landed inches from the hole, and he had another birdie.

Spieth has a chance to join Phil Blackmar (1985) as the only players to win in their first start at the Connecticut event. Spieth is also trying to become the first player since Tim Norris in 1982 at Wethersfield to lead wire-to-wire alone in the event. Peter Jacobsen had at least a share of the lead after every round in 2003.

Berger had just one bogey, at the 17th, but came back with the last of his five birdies on the final hole. He won in Memphis two weeks ago before missing the cut at the U.S. Open, which was won by his Florida State teammate, Brooks Koepka. Another former Seminoles teammate, Chase Seiffert, was in contention at 4 under after qualifying for the tournament Monday.

Rory McIlroy remained at even par. He has been trying to find his short game this week and decided to switch Saturday from the putter he began using while at the U.S. Open. Before his round, he spent time on the practice green with several putters and picked a new one.

The change didn't seem to help. His first putt Saturday, a birdie attempt from 12 feet, went 3 feet past the hole, and he needed 33 putts during his round of 70.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: http://www.espn.com/golf/story/_/id/19728487/jordan-spieth-birdies-18th-keep-travelers-championship-lead

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