Spieth (66) builds momentum for PGA Championship

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AKRON, Ohio – Jordan Spieth finally cracked a smile at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

After three rounds that largely led to frustration for the world No. 2, Spieth closed with a 4-under 66, his lowest score of the week at Firestone Country Club.

Spieth lamented his inability to find the firm fairways on the South Course following a third-round 72, but he had no issues off the tee Sunday. Spieth hit 10 of 14 fairways – four more than he had hit in any other round this week.

“I didn’t miss a fairway with my driver today,” Spieth said. “If I did, it’s because it landed in the correct part and then it funneled off into the rough. That’s really nice out on this golf course. If you can hit your driver and not miss a shot with your driver, you should definitely shoot under par out here.”

Spieth’s round included six birdies, highlighted by a holed bunker shot on No. 5 that was his 14th hole-out from off the green this season.

Spieth has closed with strong efforts before each of the first three majors this year, finishing T-3 or better. At 4-under 276, Spieth won’t finish that high this week in Akron, but he said his confidence is on a par with how he felt last month heading into the Open Championship.

“I feel like I’m playing at about that level that I came off of the John Deere at,” he said. “Going into the U.S. (Open) and going into the Masters, maybe felt even more confident about my game than maybe right now just in the way I’m striking it, but that can change in a couple days.”

Spieth will head to Wisconsin Sunday night, and will play his first practice round of PGA Championship week on Monday. He and Justin Thomas plan to team up against Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler in a Tuesday match at Whistling Straits, and Spieth hopes to flash a little hardware to needle Mickelson, a six-time U.S. Open runner-up.

“I’m going to try to get the U.S. Open trophy flown in so I can sit it on the front of each green for Phil so I’ll have something for him,” he said with a smile. “We’ll see if we can get somebody to carry it around for the round. It’s the first time I have something on him.”