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October 31 2013

3:49 AM

Spieth opens well in first WGC

Halleran/Getty Images
Jordan Spieth played his first competitive round since The Presidents Cup on Thursday.

By PGATOUR.COM staff

Jordan Spieth took strides Thursday to make his first trip to Asia, and his first start in a World Golf Championships event, memorable.

Spieth overcame two bogeys and a double on his opening nine when he rallied with six birdies in his last 10 holes for a 4-under 68 in the first round of the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational.

"(I) birdied 18 and 1, and then once that happened, just started hitting every green and actually having good looks at birdie," he said. "Felt kind of right back at the end of the season last year the way I was swinging and putting.  It was really nice to get those feelings back and just took a few holes to do so."

Those feelings to which he referred were those he had when he finished his rookie campaign with three top-5 finishes in his last five starts, including two in the FedExCup Playoffs, to help him lock up PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year honors, a top-10 FedExCup finish and a spot on the victorious U.S. Presidents Cup team.

Spieth admitted that he felt a little weak early in the round -- the 13-hour trip overseas was the longest he's ever made -- but said he'd gotten a lot of good advice and is working on getting his sleep schedule sorted out.

Surprisingly, the trouble for Spieth is staying awake, not falling asleep. He seems unfazed by the expectations that surround him following a season in which he went from no status to his first victory late season honors. But those expectations are real, and Spieth knows this is where he can set the tone for an even bigger season in 2013-14.

"As far as how many wins (I hope to get this year), that's hard to put a number on," he said. " Obviously making The Ryder Cup would be a huge honor for me just as The Presidents Cup was, so that's definitely a goal, and to play a lot better in the major championships and to give myself a chance to win there, which I think starts in the World Golf Championships, trying to compete here and trying to win the golf tournament."

Thursday's play, especially on the front nine (his second nine) certainly won't hurt him in pursuit of that last goal.

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