Jordan Spieth, who has spent most of the last three and a half years struggling, seems to be regaining form once again for the year’s last major. He shot a first round 65 at Royal St. George’s which he called “a really fun kind of cool, tricky track.”
It was a little surprising because, by his own admission, he was rusty. He hasn’t played tournaments for several weeks, and the reason for that is he plays the Texas swing in the spring. Between that and three majors, he said he was “gassed.”
Lack of recent competitive play made him a bit nervous about the start of the round, particularly with the very healthy rough on the first hole.
“If you’re not in between the beacons, it’s very, very hard, and that’s not easy to do when the wind is a solid 15 to 20, and it’s a heavy wind,” he said. It’s heavy and damp because of the proximity of the course to to the English Channel.
However, Spieth was only in the heavy fescue on one hole today, and the other times he missed fairways, he was in the short cut of rough.
“I kind of got away with a couple tee shots in the first cut that maybe if it was firmer may have worked their way just into the fescue,” he added.
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He came into the British Open championship determined to find something he liked about the course, and he was pleasantly surprised. Shooting a low score in the first round only added to his positive vibes. He compared it to 2017, when he won.
“For the first time since, then I’m at least coming in with a bit of form, a bit of confidence, and really my start lines off the tee, and I felt like I drove the ball good enough today to be able to shoot a really good score, and I’d like to improve,” he said.
One reason Spieth thinks he plays well in the British Open is that he changes his swing a bit. He shortens it and hits more of a punch shot than he does other times.
“You get less swing-focused and more shot-focused over here because the second you take your brain off of what you’re hitting, you may not find your ball,” he added.
The start was normal, two pars and a bogey, but then he ripped off birdies at the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th to turn in 32. He was on to something, held it together, made two more birdies at the 15th and 16th and finished with 65 on a par 70 course.
While he is not yet where he wants to be with his golf swing, he feels closer to his goal than he was six months or a year ago. He called it a good progression.
“All I’m trying to do is just get a little bit better each day,” he said.
Spieth’s stats were decent. He hit 64 percent of fairways, nearly 80 percent of greens. Of course, with Spieth, putting is always a key, and in the first round, he needed an average of only 1.5 putts per hole.
As far as the conditions for the rest of the day, according to reports on Golf Channel, the wind was supposed to get stronger. That means he may have had an advantage in playing earlier rather than in a later group.