Saturday, November 22, 2014




Hideki Matsuyama carded a bogey-free 67 to remain in front at the Dunlop Phoenix on the Japan Golf Tour, but his closest pursuer is familiar to most American golf fans: Jordan Spieth.
Matsuyama held a one-shot lead through 36 holes and increased his advantage to two thanks to a round that included four birdies, and the 22-year-old is 14 under after three rounds in Miyazaki. 
Spieth, 21, moved into sole possession of second with a 3-under 68 that earned him a spot alongside Matsuyama in Sunday's final pairing.
Matsuyama holds a significant edge in experience over Spieth when it comes to golf in Japan, as a win Sunday would be the sixth of his career on the JGT, and fifth since April 2013. Matsuyama earned his first USPGA Tour win earlier this year at the Memorial Tournament in a playoff over Kevin Na.
Spieth has yet to win since his maiden PGA Tour victory at the 2013 John Deere Classic, though a successful sophomore season included a runner-up at the Masters and T-4 finish at the Players Championship. This week's tournament comes in the midst of a globetrotting stretch for Spieth, who was T-35 earlier this month at the WGC-HSBC Champions in China and who will tee it up in next week's Australian Open.
While Matsuyama and Spieth continue to card birdies, one notable name went in the opposite direction Saturday: Webb Simpson. Simpson, who showed up in Japan this week with a conventional-length putter as the anchoring ban looms in 2016, struggled mightily on the greens in the third round.
 He had a pair of three-putt bogeys and needed 36 putts to complete his round of 4-over 75, and at 5 over he is tied for 57th among the 63 players who made the cut, 19 shots behind Matsuyama.



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