Pro Golf Weekly

Spieth, Johnson Co-Lead Travelers Championship After Day One

In the opening round of the Travelers Championship, Jordan Spieth picked up where he left off last year: impressing the New England golf fans with bundle of birdies and even a hole-out bunker shot.

Credit: Getty Images/Stan Badz

The 24-year superstar, and defending champion, made his way around TPC River Highland’s 18 holes in 7-under 63 to grab a share of the first-round lead with Zach Johnson, who rode six-straight back-nine birdies to the top of the board.

Looking comfortable in a group alongside Marc Leishman (74) and Russell Knox (73), Spieth carded two birdies and a hole-out eagle on the front-nine to turn in 3-under 31.

Heading in, the three-time major winner offset his card’s lone blemish (on the short par-4 15th) with four more birdies on Nos. 11, 13, 14, and 16 to reach the top of the leader board next to Johnson at 7 under.

Afterwards, Spieth cited his improved putting as the key to his first day in Cromwell, Conn.

“Putter was great. The last two events I missed the cut, and I actually putted really well, beat the field by at least a shot,” said Spieth, who finished 4th in putts: GIR (1.533).

“It’s just I put so much time into putting that my ball striking fell off. So kind of evening things out now.

“Striking still has a little ways to go. But the putter feels fantastic. I’m seeing my lines better, and it’s a matter of time, I think, before it gets to the level I’ve seen before.”

Rory McIlroy, Peter Malnati, and Brian Harman were one back at 6-under par 64, one clear of another trio in Paul Casey, Matt Jones and Beau Hossler, who sit T6 at 5-under 65.

One further back at 4-under par 66 was a logjam of 13 players, headlined by top-ranked stars Jason Day and Justin Thomas.

World No. 2 Thomas, the top-ranked player in the field, got off to a slow start with bogeys on two of the first three holes, but the 25-year old Kentucky native kicked in to gear at the turn, reeling off four birdies in a five-hole stretch (Nos. 9, 11, 12, and 13) to reach 5 under.

Credit: Getty Images/Matt Sullivan

Thomas cooled off down the stretch, though, closing with a bogey and four pars but remains in the hunt, just three back.

“Definitely didn’t finish very well by any means,” said Thomas.

“Could have easily shot 7- or 8-under today. But 4-under isn’t going to get me in trouble in the first round of a tournament.

“I’ll be able to go out tomorrow morning on hopefully a calm morning and some good conditions.”

Last season’s runner up, Daniel Berger, along with Xander Schauffele lead a group of 14 more players at 3-under par 67.

Two-time Travelers winner, Bubba Watson, sits T77 after a first-day even-par 70, two shots better than Masters champion and tournament favorite Patrick Reed, who struggled to an opening-round 72.


TOP 10

1. Zach Johnson -7
1. Jordan Spieth -7
3. Peter Malnati -6
3. Brian Harman -6
3. Rory McIlroy -6
6. Beau Hossler -5
6. Matt Jones -5
6. Paul Casey -5
9. J.B. Holmes -4
9. Jason Kokrak -4
9. Kelly Kraft -4
9. Vaughn Taylor -4
9. Russell Henley -4
9. Padraig Harrington -4
9. Jason Day -4
9. John Huh -4
9. Chase Seiffert -4
9. Bryson DeChambeau -4
9. Si Woo Kim -4
9. Justin Thomas -4
9. Steve Marino -4
9. James Driscoll -4

NOTABLES

23. Daniel Berger -3
23. Xander Schauffele -3
37. Keegan Bradley -2
37. Ryan Moore -2
37. Webb Simpson -2
37. Brooks Koepka -2
37. Stewart Cink -2
63. Pat Perez -1
63. Emiliano Grillo -1
63. Charley Hoffman -1
63. Bill Haas -1
63. Jim Furyk -1
63. Patrick Cantlay -1
77. Bubba Watson E
99. Brandt Snedeker +1
114. Patrick Reed +2


STAT LEADERS

DRIVING
1. Rory McIlroy – 340.1 yards (T3)
2. Harold Varner III – 329.9 yards (T77)
3. Patrick Rodgers – 328.5 yards (T63)
29. Jordan Spieth – 311.7 yards (T1)
144. Zach Johnson – 286.5 yards (T1)

FAIRWAYS
1. Padraig Harrington – 13/14, 92.9% (T9)
1. Kyle Stanley – 13/14, 92.9% (T23)
1. Ryan Moore – 13/14, 92.9% (T37)
1. Shane Bertsch – 13/14, 92.9% (T99)
1. Tyrone van Aswegen – 13/14, 92.9% (T114)
6. Jordan Spieth – 12/14, 85.7% (T1)
21. Zach Johnson – 11/14, 78.6% (T1)

GREENS
1. Rory McIlroy – 17/18, 94.4% (T3)
2. Matt Jones – 16/18, 88.9% (T6)
2. Kelly Kraft – 16/18, 88.9% (T9)
2. Russell Henley – 16/18, 88.9% (T9)
2. Mackenzie Hughes – 16/18, 88.9% (T23)
2. Corey Conners – 16/18, 88.9% (T77)
7. Jordan Spieth – 15/18, 83.3% (T1)
24. Zach Johnson – 14/18, 77.8% (T1)

PUTTING
1. Justin Thomas – 19 putts, 1.462 (T9)
1. Pat Perez – 19 putts, 1.462 (T63)
3. Kyle Stanley – 18 putts, 1.500 (T23)
4. Jordan Spieth – 23 putts, 1.533 (T1)
42. Zach Johnson – 24 putts, 1.714 (T1)


VIDEO: SHOT OF THE DAY


QUOTABLE

“The golf course allows for a lot of amphitheater settings as you get to greens, and that’s somewhat unusual, but really, really cool for us to see people just kind of having a good time sitting up on the hill. I felt great support here all the time. There’s plenty of guys yelling stuff that you just ignore, but for the most part it’s a fantastic welcoming.”
– Jordan Spieth

Jeff Smith

Jeff is a writer and content producer for Pro Golf Weekly. He is working on a book, documenting the 2017 and 2018 seasons on the major golf tours.

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