SHEBOYGAN, Wis. – Here’s a rarity: Jordan Spieth went 15 holes without making a birdie putt Thursday.
He still got the job done with a 52-degree wedge.
Unable to receive a free drop with a sprinkler head between his ball and the flag, Spieth had no choice but to hit wedge when his approach sailed a little long on the par-4 12th. He kick-started his round with the chip-in birdie that led to a 1-under 71 at the PGA Championship.
“If I didn’t get that good break on 12, it could have been a different story the rest of the round,” he said.
Spieth, trying to join Tiger Woods and Ben Hogan as the only players to win three majors in a season, is five shots back of Dustin Johnson after the first round at Whistling Straits.
Playing in the more difficult afternoon conditions, when the wind gusted to 25 mph, Spieth missed all six of his birdie looks on the front nine and was starting to press when his chip shot banked off the flagstick.
“Sometimes that’s all you need in a round or even in a tournament,” he said.
Spieth tacked on a birdie on the par-5 16th – and made good par saves on 15 and 17 – to help salvage an under-par start. He has broken par in 11 of his 13 major rounds this year.