May 08, 2014
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
- Spieth had five birdies and no bogeys in his first round at THE PLAYERS Championship. (Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Last month, Jordan Spieth nearly won the Masters in his first trip to Augusta National.
Last year, he became the first teenager in more than 80 years to win on the PGA TOUR.
It's of little surprise then that Spieth finds himself in an increasingly familiar position in his first PLAYERS Championship: In contention.
Spieth, who is still more than two months shy of his 21st birthday, shot a 5-under 67 Thursday at TPC Sawgrass, where he's tied for third four strokes off the lead after the first round.
"I felt comfortable all day," Spieth said. "Felt comfortable from really the first hole."
He played like it, too.
Spieth birdied his second hole of the day, the par-5 11th, and went on to make four more in a mistake-free morning at the PGA TOUR's flagship event.
But perhaps his best shot of the day didn't even result in a birdie.
After finding the right rough off the tee on the difficult 18th, Spieth hit a low shot that ran up toward the front of the green. He left his putt woefully short, however, and the ball rolled back down the slope toward him.
No problem. Spieth made his next shot, rolling in a 37-foot to save par. He went on to birdie four of his next seven holes.
It also didn't hurt that even though this is Spieth's first appearance in this tournament he has played here before. In 2010, Spieth finished second in the Junior PLAYERS Championship.
Not that there were many similarities between then and now. He drew more off his runner-up at the Masters.
"I took lot of positives," he said. "That golf course was playing so difficult and really had a great game plan going in, I didn't waste any shots there. Just looked back and saw a couple bad bounces -- the ball goes forward, on 8, like I thought, and then 9 and 12 carry another yard, then it's a completely different golf tournament.
"Looking back I could take a lot of confidence from that, knowing that we made the right decisions, (my caddie) and I handled the emotions well."
He could say the same about how he played Thursday, too.