Playing in the group behind Woods, who bogeyed three of his first four holes on his way to a 1-over 73, Jordan Spieth missed the fairway and green on each of his first four holes.
Spieth managed to save par on each of those holes before carding birdies on his next two en route to a 4-under 68.
“I had really, really good up-and-downs to kind of save that round and get it going,” Spieth said. “I knew I’d start to get my chances. I struck the ball really well Tuesday and yesterday. It just wasn’t quite finding the fairways, was just off.”
Spieth has seen the dark side of Muirfield Village before – his third-round 82 in 2013 included a 45 on the front nine and still stands as his highest score on the PGA Tour. After getting his ball-striking back on track, the world No. 2 made the most of his chances on a layout that typically rewards experience.
“I’m starting to realize where to stay patient, and where to really try and take advantage,” Spieth said. “The first couple times I played it, I was maybe a little too cautious and I had some opportunities to fire at some pins and maybe backed off of those. Today I took advantage of that when I had the chances.”
Spieth found 12 of his final 14 greens in regulation, and sits one shot off the early pace as he eyes a third win in his last 10 starts.
“If I were to shoot 4 under the next three rounds, I guarantee you I’d win the tournament,” he said. “I’m pleased with the way I played, just looking to try to continue it.”