Spieth opens Aussie Open defense with 71


Jordan Spieth began defense of his Australian Open title with an even-par 71 at The Australian Golf Club in Sydney.

Starting on the 10th hole, Spieth played his first nine holes in 2 under, then reversed the trend with a 2-over second nine.

"The hard part for me is that I was at 2 under," Spieth said. "To finish at even, that's poor because I still could've gotten in at even par on the back nine. But it is what it is - I'm still at even and I'm still in this golf tournament."

Among the morning wave, Spieth's round left him five shots behind early leader Lincoln Tighe of Australia, who shot a 5-under 66.

Spieth said it was hard to work on his game in the stiff Australian wind. "It's hard to work on something while you have these kind of cross breezes, because it's just so tough to trust it," he said. "I did a decent job of it today but I can strike the ball a bit better.

"All in all it was a very tough day for scoring so even par felt like a 3- or 4-under round."

"[I'm] still in it, but [I'm] gonna need to go shoot under par tomorrow."