Jordan Spieth purring ahead of Open Championship after stunning 61 in Illinois
Jordan Spieth looks set to head into the Open Championship in top form after recording the best round of his PGA Tour career to take the lead at the John Deere Classic this weekend.
Spieth, who will be chasing his third major title of 2015 at St Andrews, carded two eagles and six birdies in a brilliant 10-under-par 61 to move into a two-shot lead heading into the final round at TPC Deere Run.
The 21-year-old American started out with a 71 on the first day, leaving him in a tie for 101st, but he powered up the leaderboard with a 64 on Friday before making history with his blemish-free round on Saturday.
Spieth finished birdie-eagle-birdie - including holing from 105 yards on the par-five 17th - to move to 17 under for the tournament and leave him clear of New Zealand's Danny Lee.
Texan Spieth admitted he was desperate to record his best PGA round as he made his way up the 18th, and revealed the conversation he had with his caddie Michael Greller.
"Walking up after the second shot, I said 'Mike, I just saw the board and I think this is for my lowest round on the PGA TOUR," Spieth said on www.pgatour.com.
"He said, 'It doesn't matter. Just keep on trekking'. I said, 'Yeah, but I appreciate this and I really want to make this thing.'"
Spieth, who drained a 20-foot putt to record his birdie on the 18th, will now be expected to go on and clinch victory on the final day as he closes in on Rory McIlroy's world number one ranking.
However, the reigning the Masters and the US Open champion believes he will have to produce another good round to hold off his challengers in Illinois.
He added: "Just hanging in there has been the key to this week.
"The one thing I regret is starting even-par after the first day and starting that far behind. We have made up for it, obviously, and still, the way this golf course is playing, I have to shoot well into the 60s to win this tournament tomorrow."
Lee is Spieth's nearest challenger going into the fourth round after he shot a 62 on Saturday with nine birdies and no dropped shots.
Justin Thomas, who held a one-shot lead over Johnson Wagner and Tom Gillis at the midway stage, carded a 69 to sit a further shot back in joint third place alongside Wagner (68) and Shawn Stefani (64) on 14 under. Gillis is on 13 under after a 69.