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Jordan Spieth retains narrow lead over Jason Kokrak in Texas

May 29, 2021; Fort Worth, Texas, USA; Jordan Spieth tees off on #12 during the third round of the Charles Schwab Challenge golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

Home cooking has been imperative to Dallas native Jordan Spieth’s resurgent 2021 PGA Tour season.

Spieth won the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio to end a nearly four-year winless drought in April. He tied for ninth at the Dallas-area AT&T Byron Nelson in the lead-up to the PGA Championship.

Now Spieth will look to finish the job at the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, where he holds onto a one-shot lead over Jason Kokrak after Saturday’s third round.

Spieth, at 15 under, has held at least a share of the lead after all three rounds so far. He maintained his distance from Kokrak after each golfer turned in a 4-under 66. Spanish star Sergio Garcia is alone in third at 10 under.

Spieth finished the day with six birdies and two bogeys. Playing in the final group, the three-time major winner and Kokrak each went bogey-free for the back nine. They traded birdies and taking turns in the lead before Spieth birdied No. 18 to draw even with Kokrak for the round.

“It wasn’t really until midway through the back nine where that came up and (Kokrak) made, what, three birdies in four holes, and ended up being, what, four in five or six holes through the 17th,” Spieth said.

“It’s never easy to win out here. It’s a Saturday. It’s one of those where you would like to separate yourself and get a big lead but when he’s going to go make those putts on the back nine — and he’s a player that plays with a lot of confidence. I’ve always noticed that about him.”

Spieth is seeking his 13th career PGA Tour win and his second at Colonial. He won the event in 2016 when it was named the Dean & DeLuca Invitational.

The fans lent Spieth their vocal support, leading the Texan to crack wise about the tournament’s new all-inclusive ticket option that featured complimentary food and beverage.

“Yeah, this all-you-can-eat, all-you-can-drink out here is certainly — maybe it’s a trial run, let’s put it that way. People seem to be taking advantage,” Spieth said. “But it’s nice to be feeling a lot of the hometown support when that’s the case.”

Kokrak followed a pair of 5-under 65s with Saturday’s 66. He has recorded 18 birdies against just four bogeys for the tournament.

“Everybody’s expectation in the final pairing is to go out there and play well. I want to play some solid golf. All I can control is myself. I can’t control what Jordan does. Fairways and greens, give myself a lot of opportunities, and take the birdies as they come and eliminate the mistakes.”

Kokrak claimed his first PGA Tour win last October at the CJ Cup at Shadow Creek in North Las Vegas.

Ian Poulter of Great Britain shot up 26 spots on the leaderboard with a 6-under 64, the low round of the day. He and Sebastian Munoz of Colombia are tied for fourth at 8 under.

–Field Level Media