If Jordan Spieth’s putter gets warm, watch out.
On Thursday, the 29-year-old three-time major champion threw in 147-foot, nine-inch putts to trigger a 4-under 67 at Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead course in Palm Harbor, Fla.
“I felt like I made some really nice par saves from the 4- to 8-foot range that kept this round alive,” Spieth said. “Going bogey-free at this track isn’t something you’re going to do every day. So very happy with it.”
In the first round, Spieth not only made clutch par putts. He gained more than four shots down the field on the greens, reeled off three straight birdies starting on No. 14, his fifth hole of the day, and added another on the sixth after driving his drive to the right and into the trees had torched .
“When I hit the tee ball, it was just a crap shot,” he said. “I stole another one in sixth place with a pretty good break.”
Spieth had a decent lie and swing and sliced a gap wedge, managed to hit his second shot at 32 feet and sink the putt.
“Does he ever do anything conventional?” asked PGA Tour Live commentator Will MacKenzie.
That wasn’t even the longest putt of the day for Spieth, who dumped a 58-foot birdie putt on the par-3 15th. Spieth ended the day one shot ahead of Ryan Brehm. who shot 66 with an ace on the par 3 17thand Stephen Jaeger.
“I’m not comfortable out there at all, but I don’t think anyone really is,” Brehm said. “Maybe Sam Burns.”
Burns, 26, has been all alone in a class at this event for the past two years. He’s targeting a three-peat at the Valspar Championship this week and opened at 2-under 69, which was actually slightly above his tournament scoring average of 68.33 going into this week.
“Winning is out of my control,” said Burns, content with his iron game in the first round. “I’m just trying to go out there and play the best I can and add it up at the end.”
Spieth plays on a pitch that also brings back fond memories for him. A decade ago, at this event, a T-7 was a launch pad for a special temporary PGA Tour membership.
“That was huge,” he said. “That opened up all the possibilities for me for the rest of the year, that was kind of a stepping stone to get all the way to the Tour championship and then the Presidents Cup, and just really, really great memories that I wouldn’t have had otherwise not for that.” end of this event.”
Spieth also won a playoff in Innisbrook in 2015. But he hasn’t played the Valspar Championship since 2018. Two years ago he retired from the field ahead of the tournament due to COVID-19 and last year had a conflict with his brother’s wedding taking place the same weekend. Spieth is happy to be back, and even more so after signing for a clean card where his putter was more friend than foe.
“If you’re only hitting like five fairways you’re doing that around this course and shooting under par, that’s pretty solid. I got a few extras with the putter today,” he said. “I have to tighten it up a bit, we have some wind tomorrow. Really good start, had to get off to a good start with the weather (expected to get worse) from Friday through to the weekend.
Source : sports.yahoo.com