Spieth’s group, which included Paul Casey and amateur Bryson DeChambeau, was put on the clock on the 17th hole, but the defending champion didn’t seem to be bothered by the added distraction with a par at the 17th and a birdie at the closing hole to take the early lead.
“It seemed a bit, in my opinion, unnecessary, with a hole and a half to go,” Spieth said. “But I've been on the clock with a hole to go. I've actually gotten a bad time with a hole to go. So it is what it is and it really is not a big deal.”
The group fell out of position when DeChambeau hit into the water at the par-5 15th hole and Casey said the threesome drifted even further back when the group struggled on the 16th hole.
“We were put on the clock on 17, which I'm surprised Steve Rintoul put us on the clock on 17. I'm surprised we weren't on [at] 14 or 15,” Casey said. “It just kind of snowballed a little bit.”