By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
SAN ANTONIO -- Golfers with early tee times found a cold, dark and windy golf course on Thursday morning. With the tournament starting at 7:20 a.m., temperatures were in the 40s with a wind chill in the 30s. A cold front passed through dropping temperatures and changing the wind direction. It blew straight out of the north, meaning Nos. 8 and 9 were right into the wind. They were among the toughest holes on the course, causing William McGirt to say the eighth was, “at least 40 yards longer than it needed to be.”
Trending: Rory McIlroy continued some frustrating trends while shooting 72. He has not broken par in the first round of any tournament this year and he continued to struggle on the par 5s. McIlroy bogeyed both the second and 18th holes while playing the four par 5s in 1 over. The good news is McIlroy has improved as tournaments progressed this year and his even par total is within touch of the lead.
Posture: Brian Davis has an unusual pre-shot routine as he putts. He takes his stance and then stands up straight. From that position, Davis extends his hips and bends at the waist before stroking the putt. It allows his arms to hang naturally and creates a pendulum motion. Davis took just 26 putts in the opening round -- he came into the week 41st in strokes gained-putting this year.
Snowman: Jordan Spieth was tied for the lead at 4 under -- until the par-5 eighth hole. He drove into cactus in the right rough and took three shots to get back to the fairway. Spieth did not question any of his decisions except the first. The eighth, his 17th hole of the day, was playing straight into the wind and he could not reach the par 5 in two. Spieth says his mistake was hitting driver off the tee, which started all the problems when a layup with a 3-wood was the smart play.
Agressive: Nicolas Thompson is an aggressive player. He frequently hits drivers and always has a very violent swing. He managed to hit 8 of 14 fairways in the opening round and 14 greens but struggled on his three final holes, making bogeys at the seventh and ninth.
Glasses: Padraig Harrington was looking at the world a little differently in the opening round. He wore glasses. Harrington still has 20/20 vision but has developed a stigmatism, which makes it difficult to read greens. Harrington has experimented with taking glasses on and off during rounds, but just left the spectacles in place for the entire days. The Irishman joked they are strictly for performance and not for fashion purposes.