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Spieth contending at Deutsche Bank despite rough start

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NORTON, Mass. – For the first 15 minutes of his opening round, it seemed like Jordan Spieth was asleep at the wheel at the Deutsche Bank Championship.

On a course where birdies are plentiful, Spieth stumbled out of the gates Friday with a double bogey on No. 10, his first hole of the day. He played the subsequent 17 holes without dropping a shot, though, and despite the rough start he is firmly in contention after a 4-under 67.

“Kind of woke me up,” Spieth said of his opening hole. “Typically I’d be really upset at that, (but) I told myself I’ve got to have a different attitude to keep everything really neutral through the playoffs here. I feel like that’s the easiest way to gain momentum week to week.”

Spieth steadied himself by holing a 10-foot putt at No. 11, then capped an outward 3-under 32 with an eagle on No. 18. He noted that talks with caddie Michael Greller helped him gain some perspective during the early stages of the round.

“I think Michael and I did a great job on (Nos.) 10 and 11 of really settling down, understanding there’s 72 holes,” he said. “You’re going to make mistakes here and there on 72 holes. To go bogey-free from there on in, I’m extremely pleased.”

After a strong start to the season that included a runner-up finish at The Masters, Spieth has cooled somewhat in recent weeks, notably missing just his third cut of the season at the PGA Championship. The areas of concern, he admitted, have been two-fold.

“I haven’t been making as many putts or hitting as many fairways. Those are the two things, my driver and putter, which I normally consider a strength of mine,” he said. “It was getting to me a little bit.”

Spieth picked up some momentum with a Sunday 67 at The Barclays before returning to TPC Boston, where he closed a year ago with a career-low 62 in the final round.

Given his start, Spieth’s opening 67 this time around may have been nearly as satisfying.

“I would have taken anything under par after the first hole today,” he said. “So I’m very pleased to be in contention.”