Jordan Spieth Tops Leaderboard at Sony, Tied with Chris Kirk

Jordan Spieth, 2023 Sony Open,(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Jordan Spieth, 2023 Sony Open,(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Frustrations with his game seem to be coming to an end for Jordan Spieth after firing a 6-under- par 64 to top the leaderboard at the Sony Open, tied with Chris Kirk.

Waialae Country Club suits him, he said, and it’s a short commute for those who earned their way to the Sentry Tournament of Champions, which was just one island away.

Spieth said today’s start was different from the past because he believed he had good control.  In fact, he believed he left some opportunities out on the course.  It could have been a lower score.

"“For me, it’s about freedom,” he explained. “It’s not separating arms from the body and having to save shots. It’s feeling like I’m in front of them and being able to hold them off and nice fluid strokes on the greens.”"

His confidence was high compared to other good starts he’s had.  That, he admitted, is a great place to be.

"“I believe I can shoot 5- or 6-under each day out here.”  — Jordan Spieth at the Sony Open"

“I believe I can shoot 5- or 6-under each day out here. Not to say that that means it’ll happen, but there are other times I would be sitting there going, how do I hold this (expletive) together, to be honest,” he admitted. Spieth was clearly being even more forthcoming than usual.

In terms of the round, he said he started well. However, his drives hit only 50% of the fairways, but he was not upset about that. Importantly, he was +3.48 in strokes gained putting, and hit more than 83 percent of greens in regulation.

Putting, which is his strength when he’s on, was working at last. He said he knew where at least half of his putts were going in round one.

"“The stuff I’ve been trying to work on in my stroke, I decided to go full trust from the getgo today, and to see those go in was a nice confidence boost and led to a good putting day.”"

Spieth has reduced the number of times he does his wonky practice swing.

"“I did it for most of the first couple rounds last week. It’s kind of a bit of a different feel this week, and I don’t need to do it as much,” he explained. “It was just kind of a get-set motion. I had done it for so many weeks.”"

During his post-round press conference, he made one comment that should scare the field this week.

“I know once I get to a certain feel through the ball that I can beat the field,” he said. “I can be No. 1 in strokes gained for the week because I know what that feels like.”

If he gets his swing and putting back in order, who is to say what kind of year Spieth might have?

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People have been waiting for him to turn it around, and maybe this is the year he does it.  It’s too early to say Spieth has it in a groove, but at least he’s closing in on what a groove might feel like again.

He’s having fun hitting shots in the wind, something most amateurs hate to do, and his putting prowess has returned. His scores are improving. His confidence is up.

Let’s see how he holds up this week.