Former world number one Jordan Spieth earned a share of the Phoenix Open lead following a stunning third-round performance on Saturday.

Not since the 2017 Open Championship has Spieth claimed a title – the three-time major winner falling to 92nd in the world rankings as a result.

Spieth also missed six cuts in 20 events last year, while also failing to reach the weekend at the Farmers Insurance Open to begin his 2021 campaign.

But Spieth is on track to end his drought at TPC Scottsdale in Arizona, where the American star is level with countryman Xander Schauffele (65) atop the leaderboard heading into Sunday's final round.

Spieth carded a 10-under-par 61 to catapult himself up the standings and to 18 under through 54 holes.

With 10 birdies and no bogeys, Spieth tied his career-low score – he has gone on to win nine tournaments when leading/co-leading after three rounds on the last 16 occasions.

"What I'm looking forward to is just staying the course, trusting it,'' said Spieth, who has his first 54-hole lead/co-lead on the PGA Tour since the 2018 Open. "I have no expectations on the results tomorrow. I really don't.''

"I built some freedom now seeing these results the first few days here to where I feel really good about the path I'm on,'' Spieth added. "I feel good about what the long term ahead looks like for me. And sometimes that's been in question. To myself.''

Scottie Scheffler (66) and Lee Kyoung-hoon (66) are three strokes off the pace, a shot ahead of Louis Oosthuizen (63) and Justin Thomas (64) at 14 under.

Four-time major champion Brooks Koepka posted a third-round 66 after birdieing five of his last six holes to be tied for seventh – five strokes behind Spieth and Schauffele.

Northern Irish star Rory McIlroy dropped down the leaderboard after carding a one-under-par 70 in round three.

Without a win since the 2019 WGC-HSBC Champions, four-time major winner McIlroy is six under overall and tied for 36th position.

Xander Schauffele produced a fast finish to grab a one-stroke lead at the halfway mark of the Phoenix Open.

The world number four made an eagle and four birdies on his final seven holes to card a seven-under 64 in the second round at TPC Scottsdale in Arizona on Friday.

Schauffele, who has top-five finishes in his two events this year, made three straight birdies from the 12th before an eagle at 15, and he picked up another shot at the last to get to 12 under.

The American is a stroke clear of Steve Stricker (66) and Keegan Bradley (65).

Since 2000, six 36-hole leaders or co-leaders have gone on to win the Phoenix Open, the most recent of which was Rickie Fowler in 2019.

Scottie Scheffler (65), Lee Kyoung-hoon (66) and Sam Burns (68) are tied for fourth at 10 under, a shot ahead of Nate Lashley (69).

Jordan Spieth, meanwhile, showed some good signs with another 67 seeing him sit at eight under and a tie for eighth.

The three-time major champion has fallen to 92nd in the world rankings and missed six cuts in 20 events last year, while also failing to reach the weekend at the Farmers Insurance Open to begin his 2021.

Spieth sits alongside Billy Horschel (68), James Hahn (67), Matthew NeSmith (71), 2015 champion Brooks Koepka (66), J.T. Poston (66), Patton Kizzire (65) and Carlos Ortiz (67) at the halfway mark.

Justin Thomas (65) is at seven under, while Rory McIlroy improved in the second round as a 67 moved him into five under and a tie for 27th.

Matthew NeSmith and Mark Hubbard earned a share of the lead following the opening round of the Phoenix Open.

American pair NeSmith and Hubbard both posted 63s to end Thursday a shot clear of countrymen Nate Lashley and Sam Burns at TPC Scottsdale.

Making his first start at the Phoenix Open, NeSmith holed four birdies and an eagle from his opening nine holes to earn an early lead at six under.

NeSmith closed out the round atop the leaderboard with Hubbard, who was flawless after tallying eight birdies, including his final four holes.

Steve Stricker is outright fifth following his six-under-par 65 in Scottsdale, Arizona, where Xander Schauffele is among six players five under through 18 holes.

Stricker joined Tom Lehman (2011, round one, aged 51) as the only players over the age of 50 to shoot 65 in the PGA Tour event.

Former world number one Jordan Spieth is four strokes off the pace following his first-round 67.

Struggling American star Spieth, who has not won since 2017, missed the cut at last week's Farmers Insurance Open.

Four-time major champion Brooks Koepka is a shot further back after mixing seven birdies with a double-bogey and two bogeys.

Koepka won the tournament in 2015 – his first PGA Tour triumph.

As for Rory McIlroy, he is seven shots behind NeSmith and Hubbard heading into Friday's second round.

Without a victory since the 2019 WGC-HSBC Champions, four-time major winner McIlroy recovered from a double-bogey, bogey start to open with a one-under-par 70 in his tournament bow.

Meanwhile, Webb Simpson started his title defence with a two-over-par 73 – a shot better off than 219 winner Rickie Fowler.

Patrick Reed clinched the Farmers Insurance Open title with a dominant five-stroke triumph at Torrey Pines.

Reed carded a four-under-par 68 in the final round to claim the largest margin of victory of his career on Sunday.

American star Reed and Carlos Ortiz had shared the lead heading into the deciding day in San Diego, where the former starred on the South Course.

Reed posted an eagle, three birdies and a bogey to be 14 under overall for his ninth PGA Tour trophy – with his 2018 Masters success among the honours.

The victory marked the 50th top-10 performance of Reed's Tour career. The last five players to reach that milestone with a win also include Jason Day (2016), Bubba Watson (2016), Rocco Mediate (2002) and Phil Mickelson (2000).

"My biggest takeaway was mentally, I hung in there and stayed the course," Reed said afterwards, following a rules furore on Saturday.

"... We felt like we did [the right thing], the rules officials felt like they did that at the same time so with that being said I felt fine, I felt great throughout the day. And at the end of the day, I wouldn't have felt any other way.

"I was able to shoot a low number [Sunday] and get the job done."

Tony Finau (69), Henrik Norlander (69), Ryan Palmer (70), Xander Schauffele (69) and Viktor Hovland (71) finished tied for second, while Will Zalatoris (71), Lanto Griffin (72) and John Rahm were a stroke further back and six shots behind.

Four-time major champion Rory McIlroy faded as he ended the tournament in a share of 16th position at six under.

McIlroy's final-round 73 included a double-bogey, two bogies and three birdies in a mixed bag for the Northern Irish star.

Patrick Reed and Carlos Ortiz will take a share of the lead into the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open.

Ortiz produced the best round of the day on the South Course at Torrey Pines on Saturday as the Mexican carded a six-under 66.

He was two under through 12 holes in his third round before producing a blistering finish, which included four birdies on his final six holes.

Ortiz moved into 10 under to share a two-stroke lead with Reed, who managed a 70.

Reed endured a rollercoaster round with an eagle and three birdies on the front nine, but he needed a bridie at the last to share the lead after four bogeys between 11 and 16.

The American was involved in some controversy at the 10th hole, where he sought relief for an embedded ball that replays showed had first bounced, and the 2018 Masters champion picked it up before the rules official arrived.

Asked if in hindsight he would pick the ball up before the rules official was there, Reed told CBS: "Yes.

"Because you sit there and when you have three players, including yourself, three caddies and a volunteer that's within five yards of that golf ball and no-one says it bounced, you're going to mark it and check to see if the ball is embedded. That's what every player does.

"If no-one sees it bounce, they see that it looks like it's broken the plain in the ground, you mark the ball and you pick it up first and then when you see that it is embedded that's when you always call the rules official over, no matter what you're doing, to take the drop to make sure you're doing the drop correctly."

Jon Rahm is one of five players tied for third at eight under after the Spaniard carded an even-par 72 in the third round.

Alongside Rahm are Sam Burns (70), Lanto Griffin (72), overnight leader Viktor Hovland (73) and Adam Scott (72).

Rory McIlroy remains in contention after shooting a 70 that sees him sitting alongside Sam Ryder (69), Will Zalatoris (70) and Ryan Palmer (73) at seven under.

Viktor Hovland finished strongly to claim a one-stroke advantage at the halfway stage of the Farmers Insurance Open, where Brooks Koepka and Jordan Spieth missed the cut.

Hovland birdied his final hole in Friday's second round to card a seven-under-par 65 and top the leaderboard heading into the weekend at Torrey Pines.

Battling rain, hail and wind – which halted proceedings in the second round – Norwegian golfer Hovland managed to rise 47 positions to lead a star-studded field thanks to eight birdies and just one bogey on the South Course.

The 23-year-old – winner of the Puerto Rico Open and Mayakoba Golf Classic on the PGA Tour last year – is nine under through 36 holes, ahead of 2017 champion Jon Rahm (67), Adam Scott (69), Tony Finau (67), Lanto Griffin (70), Ryan Palmer (70) and Patrick Reed (72).

Alex Noren (74), who was tied for the overnight lead alongside Reed, fell into a share of 11th, three shots off the pace.

Four-time major champion Rory McIlroy is a stroke further back following his one-under-par 71 on the North Course.

McIlroy mixed four birdies with three bogeys to be tied for 14th position along with Will Zalatoris (71), Jason Kokrak (69), Adam Hadwin (70), Rory Sabbatini (67), two-time winner Brandt Snedeker (70) and Max Homa (68).

Defending champion Marc Leishman posted a second-round 70 to be three under overall, two strokes better off than rallying veteran Phil Mickelson (72).

Mickelson was on the cusp of missing the cut during the rain delay, but the five-time major champion holed back-to-back birdies to qualify for the weekend.

Former world number one Spieth (75) missed the cut as his bid to win for the first time since 2017 continues.

Koepka's 76 saw the four-time major winner also miss the cut, along with two-time Farmers Insurance Open champion Jason Day (72).

Patrick Reed and Alex Noren carded eight-under 64s to share the lead after the opening round of the Farmers Insurance Open.

Reed, who missed the cut at last week's The American Express, produced a bogey-free first round on the North Course at Torrey Pines on Thursday.

The American made three straight birdies after starting his round at the 10th and had another run of three straight on his back nine, tying the second-lowest first-round score of his PGA Tour career.

Reed shares a one-stroke lead with Noren, the 2018 runner-up who also fired a 64 on the North Course.

A former top-10 player, Noren has dropped to 96th in the rankings after going winless since 2018.

Scottie Scheffler is outright third after his 65, while 12 players opened with 66s – with only Peter Malnati and Ryan Palmer, who was runner-up alongside Noren three years ago, playing the South Course of that group.

K.J. Choi, 50, is also among that group after a bogey-free round that featured six birdies, as the two-time runner-up – whose last win was in 2012 – surprised.

Beau Hossler, Talor Gooch, Luke List, Sam Burns, Gary Woodland, Lanto Griffin, Rhein Gibson, Cameron Smith and Brandon Hagy are also tied for fourth.

Rory McIlroy made a solid start with a four-under 68 on the South Course, while 2017 winner Jon Rahm and Jordan Spieth opened with 69s.

Brooks Koepka is in a tie for 88th after an even-par 72, while two-time champion Jason Day endured a tough opening round, mixing a double bogey with six bogeys and four birdies to shoot a 76.

Richy Werenski, meanwhile, carded a 69 that included a hole-in-one at the third hole on the South Course, having also managed an ace in the final round of last year's event.

Tyrell Hatton produced a magnificent final round of 66 to win the Abu Dhabi Championship by four shots on Sunday.

Hatton started the day a stroke adrift of Rory McIlroy, but finished in dominant fashion to secure his fourth Rolex Series title.

The Englishman made a dream start to the 2021 Race to Dubai, closing with a six-under round to end the week well clear on 18 under.

Jason Scrivener matched world number nine Hatton in posting a 66 thanks to an impressive back nine, seeing him finish in second place, a shot ahead of McIlroy.

Hatton's triumph ensured he equalled Jon Rahm's record of Rolex Series successes, having also won the 2017 Italian Open, 2019 Turkish Airlines Open and 2020 BMW PGA Championship.

He made three birdies on the front nine and as many after the turn to seal a sixth European Tour victory at a canter.

McIlroy finished on 13 after signing for a level-par 72, with four bogeys frustrating the Northern Irishman after two gains from his first three holes.

Scrivener went out in 37, but got on a roll after the turn, sparked by an eagle-three at the 10th, followed by five birdies.

Spaniard Rafa Cabrera Bello took fourth place on 12 under, while Tommy Fleetwood dropped back into a share of seventh on 10 under.

David Lipsky and Marc Warren were unable to finish with a flourish, both carding rounds of 71 to finish joint-fifth.

Rory McIlroy knows he must earn the right to end his wait for glory at the Abu Dhabi Championship after setting up what could be a thrilling final day.

The four-time major winner stormed back into the lead of the tournament on day three to set up a finale that will see him duel with Tyrrell Hatton and Tommy Fleetwood for glory.

McIlroy was five shots behind Hatton overnight but after a strong finish to his delayed second round and a five-under 67 in round three, he now leads by one.

He sits on 13 under for the tournament, closely followed by Hatton at 12 under, while Fleetwood – a two-time winner at the event – is a further shot behind.

McIlroy has won a host of titles in his glittering career, but is yet to triumph in a Rolex Series event.

Having impressively been runner-up in Abu Dhabi four times and also come third on three occasions, he was asked ahead of Sunday's battle whether his time had come.

"I can't go into the day thinking it is my turn," said world number six McIlroy, who had an eagle on the 10th and five birdies.

"I want to make it my turn. I have to go out there and continue to hit the ball like I hit it on the back nine.

"If I can do that and give myself plenty of chances, I will have a really good chance.

"It's so blustery - a different type of golf than we're used to playing in Abu Dhabi. Usually not much wind and you have a chance on every hole but there is a little more scrambling involved and longer putts.

"So I thought I did well. Obviously had that big stroke of luck on 10, the ball hitting the pin and going in. 

"Apart from that, I played well. I drove it much better on the back nine and I hit it much better on the back nine, so I was really encouraged about that."

Hatton was in control of the tournament overnight but now faces a Sunday scrap, though he is relishing the challenge.

"It's pretty cool group to be a part of," said Hatton, who is eyeing a fourth Rolex Series win. 

"I'm sure the standard of golf will be pretty good and I'm hoping that I can play well and give myself a chance to win.

"You're always going to have days like that and you just try and get through it and the good thing is that I'm still in contention going into the final round. 

"Obviously one shot back which isn't ideal but a lot can happen in 18 holes. Hopefully things go my way."

Fleetwood produced consecutive rounds of 67 to move into contention after starting with a 71.

"I played well and solid," he said. "Really good round of golf and just happy to be in contention again."

Rory McIlroy stormed back into the lead of the Abu Dhabi Championship to set up a thrilling final day that will see him duel with Tyrrell Hatton and Tommy Fleetwood for glory.

Three of golf's leading names occupy the top three spots on the leaderboard after a dramatic Saturday at the Rolex Series event.

A 67 from McIlroy moved him to 13 under par for the tournament, one shot clear of Hatton, who dropped back after thriving in round two.

Fleetwood also registered a five-under 67 and sits in striking distance at 11 under.

Marc Warren and David Lipsky are in the hunt at 10 under, while Rafa Cabrera-Bello (-9) will hope a fast start can see him move into contention.

Hatton entered day three in control of the tournament, acknowledging himself he was in "a great position".

But after bad light caused a suspension of play on day two, the first task was to complete the second round, and Hatton's momentum stalled.

He was one over in completing his last five holes while two birdies from McIlroy moved him closer to the Englishman, three shots behind at the start of round three.

It did not get much better for Hatton, who eventually had to settle for a 71, comfortably his worst score of the week.

But he remains right behind world number six McIlroy, who had an eagle and five birdies in a magnificent third round, with bogeys on seven and 13 his only setbacks.

Fleetwood was one of the fortunate players who had completed his round on day two, and he had six birdies on Saturday, picking up a crucial one at 18 to move himself closer to the leaders.

World number three Justin Thomas, in the spotlight after a controversy over his use of a homophobic slur at the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii this month, missed the cut. 

The American was two under through 14 holes when play was halted on Friday, but a miserable double-bogey on 18 ended his hopes.

A poor 75 from defending champion Lee Westwood in round three left him out of the running.

Leader McIlroy has enjoyed a remarkable career but victory on Sunday would be the first time he has triumphed in a Rolex Series event.

Despite not winning it, he has an impressive record at this tournament, having been runner-up four times and coming third on three occasions.

Tyrrell Hatton acknowledged he had put himself in a great position for glory at the Abu Dhabi Championship as he surged past overnight leader Rory McIlroy. 

Round two will have to be completed on Saturday after bad light caused a suspension of play a day after fog had impacted the opening round. 

But Englishman Hatton was an impressive five under par for the 13 holes he was able to play, surging on to 12 under for the tournament. 

That gave him a five-shot advantage over a group of four players, including McIlroy, at the Rolex Series event. 

Jason Scrivener, Jazz Janewattananond and Romain Langasque are with McIlroy at seven under. 

"I'm obviously in a great position at the moment," said Hatton. "It was certainly tough out there, so I'm really happy to be five under [for the round]. 

"I held some nice putts and there were a couple of par putts towards the end of my round - nice to hold them and keep a bit of momentum going. 

"It [a long day on Saturday] will be fine. I'll just try and stay loose and see how we go."

Hatton, with his short game thriving, eagled the second hole and then immediately gave one of those shots back at the third. 

But four straight birdies between holes seven and 10 provided him with a commanding lead. 

McIlroy had started the day with a one-shot advantage at eight under and quickly improved to 10 under through three holes. 

However, the Northern Irishman fell apart from there with three bogeys and a double bogey in the 10 holes that followed before the suspension of play gave him some respite after 13. 

Tommy Fleetwood was able to complete his round, an impressive five-under 67 moving him to within a shot of McIlroy as part of a five-man group sitting at six under. 

World number three Justin Thomas, in the spotlight after a controversy over his use of a homophobic slur at the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii earlier this month, fared better than he did on day one. 

The American was two under through 14 holes when play was brought to an end, improving to one under for the week but still 11 shots adrift of Hatton. 

Reigning champion Lee Westwood is three under in a tie for 24th position.

Rory McIlroy put his lowest-scoring round at the Abu Dhabi Championship down to precision putting as the four-time major winner shot a first-round 64.

The Northern Irishman, paired with the under-fire Justin Thomas, had to be patient as play was delayed amid fog but he made up for lost time in eye-catching fashion.

McIlroy closed day one on eight under, putting the 31-year-old a shot clear of Ryder Cup team-mate Tyrrell Hatton, with Fabrizio Zanotti a stroke further back.

The delay meant not everyone managed to complete 18 holes, but McIlroy was pleased to be sitting pretty in the clubhouse. 

"A lot of it was very good. I felt like I drove the ball well for the most part. Distance control was really good," McIlroy said of a display which saw him sink four birdies apiece on the front and back nine.

"I think I started off really well and hit a lot of nice iron shots, but honestly it was probably the best I've putted these greens in Abu Dhabi probably in my whole career.

"I've shot some really good scores here but I held some really good ones today.

"And I've always struggled to read them here, but I sort of got my eye in early and kept it going."

After becoming embroiled in recent controversy for his use of a homophobic slur, McIlroy's playing partner Thomas found himself well off the pace on one over.

The American was dropped by sponsor Ralph Lauren following the incident, in which the world number three was heard making an offensive comment by a television microphone when playing at the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii earlier this month.

Thomas subsequently apologised for his "inexcusable" use of the slur.

Reigning champion Lee Westwood carded a 69, putting him in a big group on three under, with English compatriot Justin Rose for company, though the Olympic champion managed only 11 holes.

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