Following a self-described "lazy" round at the WGC-HSBC Champions, Jordan Spieth didn't take long to return to his old form.
Spieth fired the low round of the day, a 9-under 63 in the third round at Sheshan International Golf Club that vaulted the former world No. 1 back into contention heading into the final round. At 13 under, he shares fifth place and trails Kevin Kisner by three.
After finding only nine greens in regulation during a second-round 72, Spieth improved his ball-striking while equaling that tally - in birdies - during the third round.
"It all came together today," Spieth said. "All in all, this is a day that you really want to have every time you tee it up, and it doesn't come out that often, so very pleased when it does."
Spieth began the day 10 shots off the pace, essentially resigned to playing his way back into form as he makes his 2015-16 season debut this week in China. But those goals changed during a round that included two different stretches of four birdies in six holes.
"You almost feel like you're out of the tournament. You almost feel like you're kind of playing the golf course. You're just playing for yourself," he said. "I just felt like it was free-flowing and if it doesn't work, that's fine. And if it does, that's great. I'm going to have the same feeling tomorrow, playing with house money."
Spieth's round tied Branden Grace for the best score of the week, but he still felt that he could have gone even lower after missing four putts from inside 8 feet.
"The greens were slower today after the rain last night and I left two putts from inside 10 feet short, which is unusual," he said. "I'm not going to complain about the round, but I felt like the way I played could have been 10 or 11 (under) for sure."
While Spieth spent the summer winning nearly everything in sight, he admitted Saturday that his expectations for this event were a bit less lofty after not touching a club for the previous two weeks.
"This will be the first and only time I would say this, but I was not expecting myself to be in this position come Sunday when the week started," he said. "I came in with very little confidence in my trust of what I'm trying to do in my swing. ... I'm extremely pleased just to be in contention."
Contention is exactly where he finds himself, as three of the four players above him in the standings are all in search of their first win. That pits Spieth, at age 22, as one of the most experienced players near the top, along with Dustin Johnson.
Spieth estimated that a 6-under 66 in the final round will give him a chance to win, but to do so he simply hopes to rely on the process that yielded Saturday's low round.
"For me, I've just got to look at tomorrow the way I looked at today and just say, it's me and the golf course, we'll play the golf course, trust your swing as much as you can," he said. "Hopefully I get off to a good start, get into contention and then we'll see how that trust holds up."