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Spieth hikes lead to 3

Jordan Spieth  (AP Photo/Dave Thompson)

Jordan Spieth (AP Photo/Dave Thompson)

SOUTHPORT, United Kingdom (AFP) – Jordan Spieth produced yet another majestic round of golf on Saturday as he closed in on his third major title at the British Open while South Africa’s Branden Grace made major championship history.

Grace became the first player ever to shoot a 62 in a major as he rocketed up the leaderboard from nowhere at Royal Birkdale to give himself an outside chance of winning one of the sport’s biggest prizes for the first time.

But it really is just an outside chance, for him and the rest of the chasing pack, after Spieth built on his two-stroke overnight lead to shoot a bogey-free 65 and climb to 11 under par for the championship.

Spieth, the 2015 Masters and US Open champion, leads by three from his fellow American Matt Kuchar, who sits at eight under par.

Austin Connelly of Canada and Brooks Koepka, the current US Open champion, are joint third at five-under.

He kept the field at bay all day, but the final outcome of this Open could hinge on events at the 18th as the clock ticked towards 8p.m. (1900 GMT) on Saturday.

Kuchar missed a golden chance for a birdie after coming close to holing his approach shot on the last, while Spieth converted a more difficult birdie opportunity to extend his advantage.

Before that Spieth had picked up three birdies on the front nine and another at the par-five 15th, while Kuchar was slightly more erratic.

The giant 39-year-old had seven birdies, but also a bogey at the short 4th hole and a double-bogey at 16 after finding a bunker from the tee.

Kuchar is still by far the best-placed to deny Spieth, though, and the duo will again go out together in the final pairing on Sunday afternoon.

“Our game plan when we stood on the first tee was, ‘let’s push each other to separate and get this pairing tomorrow.’ That’s kind of what we wanted to do,” admitted Spieth.

“The fewer people towards the top, or at least a bit of separation, is definitely a more comfortable feeling.”