AUGUSTA, Ga. – Jordan Spieth is doing Jordan Spieth things again at Augusta National.
The defending champion shot a smooth 66 Thursday in the first round of the Masters to collect the early lead. Spieth recorded six birdies - only one on the four par 5s - and no bogeys.
“I got the most that I could possibly get out of my round today,” Speith said. “The round today in my opinion may be better than the first round last year even though [last year] was two strokes better.”
Spieth opened with 64 last year en route to a record-tying 18-under-par victory.
Should Spieth lead or share the lead Thursday night, it will mark the sixth time he’s done so after a round in the Masters, of which he's only played nine. In the last 30 years, Tiger Woods has held at least a share of the lead following nine rounds. Phil Mickelson and Fred Couples have done it six times over that same span.
“I would have signed for 2 under today and not even played the round knowing the conditions that were coming up,” Spieth said. “Got a lot out of the round with what I felt like was kind of average-ish ball-striking. Just scored the ball extremely well, which is something I’ve been struggling with this season.”
Spieth, 22, arrived early in the week with high expectations but only among a handful of favorites because of the great recent form shown by Adam Scott, Bubba Watson and world No. 1 Jason Day.
Late Wednesday on the practice range, Spieth discovered that he had cracked the head of his driver, and equipment reps scrambled to find him a new model. Spieth said the new model was better than the previous but still he was on the range late Wednesday working to get comfortable with the big stick. He said that he hit five balls with four different heads before opting to stick with one in particular. On Thursday, he hit a lot of 3-woods off the tee and may tinker with the driver head in a practice session.
Whether he’s in the lead by day’s end isn’t important. It’s more important to know that’s at least in a good position no matter what happens.
“It’s my favorite tournament in the world,” Spieth said. “The first few days we’re trying to work our way into contention.”
So far, so good.