JJ Spaun opened with a scorching round of 63 at TPC Craig Ranch to secure the early day-one lead at the 2021 AT&T Byron Nelson.
The Los Angeles native, who started his round on the 10th tee, produced a bogey-free scorecard comprised of nine birdies to reach the marquee position on 9 under.
“Yeah, just solid round. Played really solid. Took advantage of the soft conditions, the lift, clean, and place, ball in hand,” said Spaun.
“So I was just kind of playing each hole as it came and was trying to make as many birdies as I can. Felt like when you looked at the leaderboard is it out there today for sure.”
Part of the afternoon wave was home favorite Jordan Spieth, who also posted a clean round, highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 18th hole to join Spaun atop the leaderboard.
“It was my third round I played since the Masters, first round walking since the Masters,” said Spieth who caught (and overcame) COVID-19 during his break.
“Played nine holes walking on Tuesday. But I noticed it in my legs. It’s just one of those things. It’s like with basketball players. Basketball shape is nowhere near golf shape, but when they get out, miss ten games, it takes a couple games to get your legs back.
“For me, I noticed it in my swings coming down the stretch. Just got lazy in my lower body. On 18 I just said, ‘This is the last one you got to do today. Let’s give it everything you got,’ and roasted a 3-wood and capped it off with the putt.”
Aaron Wise, the 2018 Byron Nelson winner, was second on 8 under following a bogey-free 64. He was tied with Rafael Cabrera Bello and Doc Redman.
“Yeah, played great,” said Wise. “Super happy with everything. Was able to hit the ball really well, which I been doing for a while.
“Today was able to make some putts and shoot a low one.”
A logjam of 10 more players were tied for sixth on 7 under including Sam Burns and Sergio Garcia and Charl Schwartzel.
Recent Zurich Classic winner, Marc Leishman, and three-time major winner Padraig Harrington were among a group of 16 players tied for 17th on 6 under, one clear of Texans Scottie Scheffler and Ryan Palmer who headlined another logjam of 20 more at 5 under.
Defending champion Sung Kang and Rickie Fowler were two others in the 5-under pack.
Newly-minted Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama teed it up for the first time since his win last month and shot a 4 under to sit T53, alongside world No. 3 Jon Rahm, and 20 others.
Bryson DeChambeau and Daniel Berger were part of another group at T75 on 3 under.
Former PGA Champions Jimmy Walker and Jason Day were 2 under, one clear of two-time PGA winner Brooks Koepka.
2021 AT&T Byron Nelson
Top-5 Leaders: Round 1
Pos-Player-To Par-(Rd 1)
1. Jordan Spieth -9 (63)
1. J.J. Spaun -9 (63)
3. Aaron Wise -8 (64)
3. Doc Redman -8 (64)
3. Rafael Cabrera Bello -8 (-64)
Material from the PGA Tour Media was used to compile this report.