By DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Jordan Spieth got in on the action Saturday during the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am title, and he lived to tell the tale.
On a day when Seamus Power backed down to allow half a dozen other players back into the game, Spieth backed off just to make sure he didn’t fall off a 60ft cliff.
Though it might have seemed more dangerous than it was, his cliff edge approach to the eighth hole at Pebble Beach stole the show on a Saturday that usually belongs to Bill Murray, Macklemore and the rest of the celebrities.
Spieth had a career-low 9-under 63 at Pebble Beach to move from 10 strokes behind Power to one stroke behind the top three of Beau Hossler, Andrew Putnam and Tom Hoge.
“That was by far the most nerve-wracking shot I’ve ever hit in my life,” Spieth told caddy Michael Greller after his shot went just left of the green.
His tee shot crossed the fairway, without going over the edge. Keeping all the weight on his right leg, Spieth hit the kick and immediately backpedaled to ground level. From the rough, he cut the slippery green to 18 feet and made the putt par.
It was high level entertainment on a Saturday built for such stagings. And while celebrities drew a large gallery that lined the fairways on another glorious day, the final round was full of possibilities.
Hossler hit a 65 at Pebble Beach, narrowly missing a second-of-the-round eagle on the 18th hole. He was the first to reach 15-under 200.
Putnam started on the back nine at Pebble Beach and birdied five straight without anyone looking, finishing with a par for 68 at Pebble Beach. Hoge was at Spyglass Hill and shot a 68 to join them.
Patrick Cantlay, at No. 4, the top-ranked player in the pack, started and ended his round with a pair of birdies and didn’t do much in between. He had a 68 and was one stroke behind, along with Spieth and Joel Dahmen (66 at Spyglass).
“I’m in a great position and I love this golf course and everyone will be playing on the same golf course tomorrow so it should be fun,” Cantlay said.
A key figure in all the fun was Power, the 34-year-old Irishman, who set the 36-hole tournament record at 128 and looked like he could do wrong.
He had a five-stroke lead at par and a four-stroke lead on strokes, but his par-71 round of the Monterey Peninsula became a struggle off the tee and around the greens. Power had back-to-back birdies to get back to 16 under — even for the day — until he bogeyed on two of his last three holes for a 74.
Even so, he was only two strokes down going into the final lap.
Spieth came out on 31, highlighted by a 3-foot uphill approach on the par-5 sixth for an eagle and his two 18-footers to close the front nine, the par on the No. 8 and a birdie on the No. 1. 9.
He finished with a tee shot on the par-3 17th that bounced hard off the springy green, grazed the flagstick and settled 8 feet out for a birdie. On the iconic par-5 closing hole, his second shot landed on the green and raced near the hole until it came to rest on the fringe, leaving 20 feet and two putts for a final birdie.
Jason Day, who finished tied in the third period at Torrey Pines as the former world No. 1 tries to regain his form, kept his hopes alive with a 70 at Spyglass. He was four strokes behind.
Hossler and Hoge are the only top-seven players yet to win on the PGA Tour. Hoge had his chance two weeks ago in the California desert.
Hossler was bogey-free, a consistent lap with very little stress.
“Pebble can give and take so quickly, can’t he? I was happy to be the recipient today,” he said. very conservative way, frankly, although it might not seem like it, and I’ve been lucky not to have any misfires that have really gotten me in significant trouble.”
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