FARMINGDALE, N.Y. – Bethpage Black lives up to its billing – just ask Jordan Spieth.
Unlike many in the field this week at The Barclays, Spieth didn’t play the Black Course in the 2009 U.S. Open. He also wasn’t here for The Barclays in 2012, meaning this is his first competitive appearance on the famed public layout.
Following an even-par 71 in the opening round that left him five shots off the pace, Spieth gave it a complimentary assessment.
“It’s up there in the top few toughest courses I’ve ever played,” he said. “If they made the greens firm today, it would have been unplayable on a few holes. It was very tough, challenging, but fair today. We just had it really, really tough in the afternoon with those winds so high.”
Spieth birdied three of his first seven holes to move onto the early leaderboard, but he made only one birdie on the back nine and paid the price for a few errant tee shots.
“On other golf courses, you can get away with the ball in the rough, the bunkers,” Spieth said. “But the way this one is designed and the way it’s playing this week, the bunkers are designed where you get into kind of lips on them and they force you to lay up, and then the rough is thick enough where you just can’t miss them.
“I think I hit seven (fairways) today, so I only hit half of them. In order to win out here, you’ve got to hit more than that, so that’s really my takeaway today. Just need to drive the ball a bit better.”