(Reuters) – Jordan Spieth recovered from a poor start with a stunning run of birdies to tie the lowest nine-hole score of his career in the opening round of the RBC Heritage in South Carolina on Thursday.
The three-times major champion, who started on the back nine at the Harbour Town course on Hilton Head Island, was two over on the day when he reached the par-five second where he made the first of six consecutive birdies.
The longest birdie stretch of Spieth’s career ended when he parred his penultimate hole but he added another birdie at the last for a front-nine 29 that left him with a five-under-par 66 and a tied for the clubhouse lead.
“I really enjoy playing this golf course. It’s one of the cooler courses,” said Spieth. “I haven’t had necessarily a ton of success, but I also haven’t played it very often. So I’m looking forward to continuing on my back nine today.”
Spieth said he was thinking how cool it would be to birdie each of his final eight holes but had to take his foot of the gas when he saw the condition of his ball on the fairway of the eighth hole.
“I had like a little bit of mud on the left side of the ball, and I didn’t really want to play it because, if it’s not
there, it’s going to go in the water left of the green, so I
played it safe, which was the right play,” said Spieth.
The birdie run helped Spieth, seeking his first win since the 2017 British Open, claw back from an indifferent start.
The American’s tee shot at his third hole, the 12th, hit a tree and went out of bounds. Spieth needed two more shots to reach the green where he three-putted for a triple-bogey.
“You can’t miss right on 12. I knew that. In the air, it was fine. It was just going to be in the trees, whether I could punch it to the green or punch out,” said Spieth.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Ed Osmond)