Spieth makes big move as Schauffele takes control at Scottish Open

Jordan Spieth made two eagles to roar up the leaderboard, but Xander Schauffele took control of the Scottish Open on Saturday.

Cameron Tringale began the day at the top of the tree on seven-under but he tumbled back to bring a host of players into contention for the final round.

In what was a star pairing, Spieth outshone playing partner Jon Rahm at the Renaissance Club.

The American, who on Friday denied he was moving to LIV Golf, let his golf do the talking on Saturday.

He made a couple of early birdies, only to give one back before the turn.

Spieth got things rolling on the 10th, with a brilliant approach with a long iron setting up a five-foot putt for eagle.

He disappointingly gave a stroke back one hole later, but he holed his second from the fairway on 15 to set up a round of 66 to move to four-under for the tournament.

“The last two rounds I have dropped shots in bunches,” Spieth told Sky Sports. “Today I’ve wanted to maintain the energy and finish strong.

“It was nice to get that bonus on the 15th and steal a couple on the back nine.”

Reflecting on his eagle on 15, Spieth said: “It looked good in the air. It was a bit lucky for it to go in, but I was happy with the pace it went in at. It meant I’d hit my number.”

Rahm was hoping to make a similar move to Spieth, but he could never get going and fell away on the back of a round of 74.

The American started slowly in tough conditions on Thursday, but powered into contention on Friday and carried the momentum into moving day.

Schauffele was nine off the lead at one stage on Friday, but he made relentless progress through the field.

After a run of six birdies through 16 holes in round three, Schauffele threatened to run away from the field as he held a four-shot advantage.

But he was unfortunate to catch the wrong slope on 17 to bogey the hole, and he dropped a second shot on 18. He was still able to sign for a 66, which puts him two clear of the field going into the final round.

“It was solid,” Schauffele said. “Overall very happy. I thought I stuck to what Austin (caddie) and I wanted to do today.

“It helps to see a few bounces and a couple of putts go in and you get a bit more comfortable.”

Round Three Leaderboard

  • Xander Schauffele, seven-under
  • Rafael Cabrera Bello, five-under
  • Jordan Spieth, four-under
  • Ryan Palmer, four-under
  • Jordan Smith, four-under
  • Alex Smalley, three-under
  • Matthew Fitzpatrick, three-under
  • Cameron Tringale, three-under

Rafael Cabrera Bello will be in the final group alongside Schauffele on Sunday after posting a round of 67 to sit two shots back at five-under. There are three spots at next week’s Open Championship available to those not already qualified, and the Spaniard is currently in pole for those spots. As things stand, Ryan Palmer and Alex Smalley would also be on their way to St Andrews.

Tringale held a three-shot lead overnight, but he tumbled back into the pack at three-under after a sorry round of 74. The course record of 61 on Thursday was a distant memory.

Max Homa could have been forgiven for being a little tired, as he followed up his second round on Friday by playing 18 holes at the nearby North Berwick links in the evening. It’s worth a visit, but maybe not for a professional in the middle of a tournament. But it did not hinder him as the American carded a 66 to move to two-under with 18 holes to play.

Tommy Fleetwood produced his best form of the week, a round of 67, to move into the top 20 at one-under alongside the likes of Patrick Cantlay and Rickie Fowler. The latter has not missed an Open since appearing for the first time in 2010, but needs to go low on Sunday to qualify.

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