(Reuters) – Jordan Spieth came into the Valero Texas Open mainly looking to fine-tune his short game ahead of next week’s Masters and on Thursday he did just that as he grabbed the early first-round clubhouse lead.
Spieth was a little loose off the tee in tough conditions at TPC San Antonio but more than offset that with a sublime short game en route to a five-under-par 67 that left him one shot clear after the morning wave.
“I didn’t quite hit it as good as I have been, but certainly the short game came through,” Spieth said. “Just kind of put a little more emphasis on that this week, so kind of a little balancing act right now trying to get enough work in on all facets of the game.”
For Spieth, who has shown signs that he could soon snap a victory drought that dates back to the 2017 British Open, the score marked his lowest in 19 career rounds at the Valero Texas Open.
Spieth finished in a share of 46th place at last November’s Masters and missed the cut in his next event. But the 2015 Masters winner has since found a new gear and recorded five top-15 finishes in his last six starts.
Augusta National will surely present much tougher challenges but a resurgent Spieth, who has four top-three finishes in seven Masters starts, appears to be gaining confidence in his game.
“Wedged it better than I did the last couple of events and chipped the ball really well,” said Spieth. “I didn’t have much stress for par after missing greens.”
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Ed Osmond)