Spieth starts slow at RBC Heritage
April 16, 2015
By Robert Gillespie, Special to PGATOUR.COM
- April 16, 2015
- Four days after winning the Masters, Jordan Spieth shot a 3-over 74 in the first round at Harbour Town. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – The fabled “Masters hangover” that Jordan Spieth was determined to avoid struck with a vengeance on Thursday in the first round of the RBC Heritage.
Perhaps, in retrospect, the 21-year-old phenom should’ve seen this 3-over par 74 coming. And Spieth, who tied the Masters’ 72-hole scoring record (18 under) had no problem identifying the symptoms.
“Well, I didn’t drive the ball well, didn’t particularly strike my irons well,” he said. “My chipping and putting wasn’t there. It was just an off-day.”
In fact, Spieth’s round was perhaps the clearest explanation of why no Masters champion had played at Harbour Town Golf Links the week after the year’s first major since Zach Johnson in 2007. And, looking ahead, why only one Masters winner has gone on to also capture the RBC Heritage the following week: Bernhard Langer, who did it in 1985, or nine years before Spieth was born.
Spieth even admitted his frustration level over his 74 was not as much as it would be in a different situation.
“I mean, it’s probably not quite as high, just given I haven’t played a whole lot of the course (this week)," said Spieth, who arrived late Tuesday at Hilton Head after his whirlwind tour of New York. “So (I’m) just adapting to do the first few holes and going from there.
“But at the same time, there’s no excuses,” he said. “I still should have shot really under.”
He did admit to fatigue in his legs from climbing Augusta’s hills last week, “but I’ve played four-week stretches where I feel that, and it normally doesn’t affect anything. It was just an off-day.”
He added with a chuckle, “(Matt) Kuchar is older than me, and he’s at the end of a four-week stretch. And he kicked my butt today, so I’ve got some work to do.”
Kuchar, the defending champion, shot 3-under 68.
Spieth said skipping the RBC Heritage never crossed his mind.
"I like this course a lot. I didn’t expect myself to shoot 6 under or 8 under in the first round. But I’m still riding enough momentum and playing well enough to shoot an under par around here.”
That said, Spieth might console himself with a glance back at his RBC Heritage history. Last April, in his second trip around Harbour Town, he shot a second-round 74 – then rebounded with rounds of 70 and 67 to finish T12. Still, he knows what he must do next.
"I’ve got to play well (Friday) to be able to play the weekend here,” he said. “And it’s certainly something I want to do."
Graeme McDowell and Matt Every post matching 66’s to lead RBC Heritage.