Burns leads Nelson; Spieth eagles 18, now 3 back


McKINNEY, Texas — Sam Burns still has the lead going into the final round of the AT&T Byron Nelson despite more magic on the 18th green from local favorite Jordan Spieth.

Now it’s a race to beat the weather in Texas in the final round with a good number of the players headed to the PGA Championship in South Carolina.

Burns shot a 3-under 69 for a one-stroke lead over K.H. Lee, who had a 67. Spieth, Matt Kuchar and Charl Schwartzel each shot 66 and were three strokes back along with Alex Noren, who shot 70.

The players will switch from twosomes back to threesomes going off the first and 10th tees soon after daybreak Sunday with heavy rain in the forecast. Without delays, the tournament will finish about four hours earlier than normal.

Spieth rolled in another eagle at the par-5 18th, this time a shorter, bending putt from the fringe behind the hole. This time it just trimmed his deficit after Spieth’s 55-footer up a hill that splits the green gave him a share of the first-round lead.

The roar was the same, though, from the biggest gallery on the new course of his hometown event, the TCP Craig Ranch in McKinney, about 30 miles north of Dallas. It’s the third venue in the past four Nelsons.

“Once it got on the green, it looked good,” Spieth said. “Started the putter raise and I wasn’t positive it was going in because the angle it was coming in at. I wanted to do the no look to the crowd, but, I mean, it was a really cool moment.”

Seamus Power holed out on a 35-foot bunker shot on the par-4 15th for a 67 and was tied with 2017 U.S. Amateur winner Doc Redman at 16 under. Redman shot 69.

Scott Stallings and Harris English shot matching 63s after making the cut on the number at 6 under, a record low for the Nelson on a course that hosted Korn Ferry Tour Championships but looks overmatched against some of the game’s best.

Burns, trying to become first player since Camilo Villegas in 2008 to get his first two PGA Tour victories in consecutive events, had his first bogey of the tournament on No. 1 and another on the sixth hole. He missed an eagle by inches on 18.

Lee birdied four of his last seven holes and the South Korean briefly shared the lead with Burns before the Louisiana native tapped in for birdie on the final hole.

Spieth’s eagle was a boost after back-to-back bogeys stalled the momentum of six birdies over a nine-hole stretch for the three-time major winner who will be looking for the career grand slam next week.

Kuchar birdied five of the last seven holes on the front nine, and the 2011 Masters champion Schwartzel answered a bogey at 16 with consecutive birdies.

Stallings birdied six consecutive holes a day after shooting 71 in the second round, when allergy medication affected him badly enough for his caddy to ask, “You think we could break 80 today?”

Seeking his first win since 2014, Stallings made the turn at 2 under in the second round. The 36-year-old Tennessean had four straight birdies, made the cut on the number and has played 27 holes in 13 under.

“You’re way behind, you’re trying to give yourself as many birdie putts as you can,” said Stallings, who has just three top-three finishes in seven years since winning at Torrey Pines. “I didn’t know that I made six in a row.”

Sung Kang, the defending champion from 2019 before last year’s COVID-19 cancellation and the subsequent move to Craig Ranch after two years at the treeless links course Trinity Forest in Dallas, shot 72 to remain at 8 under.

Jon Rahm, the highest-ranked player in field at No. 3, is 11 under after a 68. Fifth-ranked Bryson DeChambeau, who played at nearby SMU, stayed at 7 under with a 72.

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