March 31, 2023
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Jordan Spieth’s best performance since May 2021 resulted in a bogey-free 67

When Jordan Spieth’s putter gets hot, watch out.

On Thursday, the 29-year-old three-time Grand Slam champion putts 147 feet, 9 inches to spark a 4-under-par 67 on the Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead Course in Palm Harbor, Florida.

“I felt like I made some really good par stops from that 4-foot to 8-foot range that kept that round going,” Spieth said. “Without bogeys on this track it’s not something you’re going to do every day. Very happy with that.”

It wasn’t just clutch putts for par that fell during the first round for Spieth. He gained more than four strokes to the course on the greens, making three straight birdies starting on the No. 14, his fifth hole of the day, and adding another on the sixth after firing his shot to the right and into the trees. .

“When I hit the tee ball, it’s just a roll of the dice,” he said. “I stole another one at No. 6, with a pretty good break.”

Spieth had a decent lie and swing and cut a gap, managing to hit his second shot from 32 feet and sink the putt.

“Do you ever do anything in a conventional way?” asked PGA Tour Live commentator Will MacKenzie.

That wasn’t even the longest putt of the day for Spieth, who drained a 58-foot birdie putt on the par-3 15he. Spieth finished the day one shot shy of Ryan Brehm, who shot 66 with an ace at the par-3 17heand Stephen Jaeger.

“I don’t feel comfortable out there at all, but I don’t think anyone really is,” Brehm said. “Maybe Sam Burns.”

Burns, 26, has only been in one class in the past two years at this event. He’s looking for a hat-trick this week at the Valspar Championship and opened at a 2-under 69, which was actually slightly above his tournament scoring average of 68.33 heading into this week.

“Winning is out of my control,” said Burns, who was pleased with his iron play in the first round. “I just try to go out there and play the best I can and score at the end.”

Spieth is playing on a course that also brings back fond memories. A decade ago, a T-7 at this event was a launching pad for special temporary membership on the PGA Tour.

“That was huge,” he said. “That opened up all the opportunities for the rest of the year, it was a springboard to the Tour Championship and then the Presidents Cup and really, really great memories that I wouldn’t have had if it hadn’t been. ‘t by the end of this event.”

Spieth also won at Innisbrook in a tiebreaker in 2015. But he hasn’t played in the Valspar Championship since 2018. Two years ago, he withdrew from the field before the tournament due to COVID-19 and last year had a conflict with his brother’s wedding. is held the same weekend. Spieth is happy to be back and even more so after signing a clean card where his putter was more friend than foe.

“Only hitting like five fairways, you do that at this spot and shoot below par, it’s pretty solid. I was able to sneak in a couple extras with the putter today,” she said. “I need to push it a bit, we have some wind tomorrow. Very good start, necessary to have a good start with the weather (expected to worsen) from Friday to the weekend.”

The story originally appeared on GolfWeek

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