McKINNEY, Texas — Jordan Spieth had his longest stretch all day of mere pars — a whopping 4 holes — on the besieged new residence course of the AT&T Byron Nelson when the native favourite stepped over a 55-foot eagle putt on the par-5 18th.
Nothing however the backside of the cup and a share of the first-round lead with J.J. Spaun at 9-under 63 on a virtually windless Thursday.
Spieth, Spaun and loads of others had little hassle with TPC Craig Ranch north of Dallas. There have been 132 gamers within the discipline of 156 underneath par, with 94 of these within the 60s on the third venue prior to now 4 Nelsons.
“It is a good golf course, nevertheless it’s enjoying about as straightforward as it could actually play,” mentioned 2018 Nelson winner Aaron Wise, who was amongst 4 gamers 1 shot off the lead. “We obtained a ton of rain the final two days after which good climate in the present day and appears like tomorrow and Saturday as properly, so it is arrange for scoring.”
Hideki Matsuyama sputtered on the entrance 9 in his first look since changing into the primary Japanese participant to win the Masters, then stalled once more after three straight birdies to begin the again 9. He completed at 68.
“I actually felt like a Masters champion as a result of each gap, each gap, there was only a heat applause and welcome,” Matsuyama mentioned via an interpreter. “It was actually good to play as Masters champion.”
Sung Kang, the defending champion because the 2019 winner, shot a 67 on his residence course. The South Korean participant put his 234-yard strategy on the par-5 ninth to eight toes and made the eagle putt. He had 4 birdies and a bogey.
After final 12 months’s COVID-19 cancellation, the Nelson returned to the suburbs at McKinney’s Craig Ranch after two years at Trinity Forest, a treeless hyperlinks course in Dallas. The 4 Seasons resort in Irving was residence for greater than 30 years.
Craig Ranch was the positioning of two Korn Ferry Tour Championships however was little match for its first check on the increased stage. Delicate greens from current rain and the calm situations made for favorable scoring proper from the beginning.
Rafa Cabrera-Bello was the primary to publish 64, quickly joined by Clever, nonetheless searching for his second profession PGA Tour victory three years after his first on the Nelson, and Doc Redman. Joseph Bramlett joined them from the afternoon pairings.
Sergio Garcia, who holed out from 52 yards for eagle on the par-4 sixth, was in a big group at 65.
Jon Rahm, the highest-ranked participant within the discipline at No. 3 after top-ranked Dustin Johnson withdrew due to a knee difficulty, birdied three of his first 5 holes however cooled off and completed at 68.
Like Matsuyama, Spieth was enjoying for the primary time because the Masters, however due to a optimistic COVID-19 check as an alternative of a visit residence to Japan, the place Matsuyama celebrated with the inexperienced jacket in his golf-loving nation.
Spieth’s first bogey-free spherical out of 34 on the Nelson included a birdie on the par-5 twelfth when his 247-yard second shot from a foul lie within the tough rolled via the inexperienced to a hill on the perimeter earlier than coming again and settling 10 toes away.
Spieth missed that eagle putt however not the subsequent one. From the decrease tier of the large inexperienced on 18, he rolled the putt up the hill and in with the pin nonetheless within the cup, prompting an enormous roar from a gallery following three Dallas-area gamers.
“I am simply making an attempt to get to tap-in and cap off a superb day, and I sort of began leaning as a result of I believed it was going to overlook left and it simply sort of fell within the left facet of the outlet,” mentioned Spieth, who has by no means completed within the prime 10 after contending on Sunday as a 16-year-old newbie in 2010. “The roar was fairly electrical.”
Brooks Koepka additionally was enjoying for the primary time because the Masters, the place he missed the reduce lower than a month after proper knee surgical procedure.
The four-time main winner says the knee is healthier, nevertheless it did not present in his return. Koepka had 4 birdies and three bogeys for a 71, liable to lacking the reduce for the second time in six Nelson appearances.
Masters runner-up Will Zalatoris, who grew up not removed from Craig Ranch and has performed it incessantly, had comparable troubles. The 24-year-old shot 70 every week after lacking the reduce on the Wells Fargo Championship. However he did match Spieth’s eagle on 18 with a extra routine 15-footer moments later.
Spaun missed the reduce in 9 of his first 15 occasions this season earlier than a tie for 18th at Quail Hole final week. The entire 9 birdie putts Spaun made had been inside 7 toes as he hit 11 of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens.
“It was plenty of looking out,” mentioned Spaun, nonetheless searching for his first PGA Tour victory. “I really feel like that is one thing that us golfers sort of do an excessive amount of of when issues begin to go incorrect as an alternative of simply chalking it as much as a foul week or couple weeks’ hunch with the hanging.”