FORT WORTH, Texas — Prior to final week’s PGA (*63*), the feel-good comeback story of the 12 months was Jordan Spieth, who had practically fallen out of the highest 100 on the planet earlier than rebounding with seven top-10 finishes in his final 10 begins.
Of course, Phil Mickelson forged that plotline apart at Kiawah Island, turning into the oldest participant in historical past to seize a significant event, snapping a two-year drought on the PGA Tour within the course of.
As destiny — or smart PGA Tour guidelines officers within the competitions division — would have it, the 2 have been a part of a featured pairing throughout Thursday’s opening spherical of the Charles Schwab Challenge, and Spieth appeared fairly decided to thrust his storyline again to the forefront.
On a windy day with significantly harder tough than in earlier years, Spieth completed with birdies on his ultimate three holes of the day at Colonial Country Club, posting a 63 and claiming the highest spot on the leaderboard after the early wave of gamers.
The spotlight of the spherical — an ideal Spieth clip — got here on his second-to-last gap of the day when the hometown hero chipped in from the perimeter for birdie.
When the spherical was by way of, Spieth admitted he was thrilled to submit a quantity that low.
“Yeah, it’s hard to go any lower. I made some putts, got started on the first hole today, that one goes in, and that’s what I talked about before the tournament,” Spieth mentioned. “If I could get a couple to go in early in the first round and the confidence and the work I’ve been doing on my stroke the last few days, which is a somewhat significant change in a stroke feel, I thought that would exude just a little bit of confidence into the rest of the round on greens where I’ve been very successful on before.”
Meanwhile, Mickelson struggled out of the gate, posting a pair of bogeys on the primary three holes, and limped house with a 3-over 73. Just days faraway from his sixth main victory, he discovered difficult crusing and by no means appeared to get right into a rhythm.
Phil Mickelson on the 14th tee in the course of the first spherical of the Charles Schwab Challenge. Photo by Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports
“It was almost like I was trying a little too hard, and I wasn’t just calm and let it happen, and I was a little bit antsy. What would be the word? Unsettled would be the word,” Mickelson mentioned. “Like I just couldn’t quite get calmed down in that same frame of mind. Like I said, I’ll have more time tonight and tomorrow, get back in it, because my game has been really good.”
Spieth going low at Colonial isn’t out of the unusual — Thursday marked the tenth time he completed with a rating of 65 or higher, needing simply 23 putts on the day to catapult forward of the early pack.
And whereas Spieth — who, when he was in grade school, followed Phil Mickelson at Colonial Country — was the day’s clear victor from a pairing that additionally included Daniel Berger (68), the Dallas native mentioned he loved once more enjoying with one among his boyhood idols, particularly after Mickelson’s monumental victory. He additionally mentioned he didn’t see any complacency from the 50-year-old.
“It’s always fun playing with Phil. I very much enjoyed that. Just watching him but also talking with him,” Spieth mentioned. “He was pretty much the same. He wanted to show as low as he could and he was grinding and he was upset when it wasn’t going well, and he was very similar. You wouldn’t have known.”