Splendid start for Spieth at Augusta
Jordan Spieth took the early lead at the Masters after a stunning opening round of 64 at National Augusta which placed him three strokes clear of the field.
The 21-year-old American was eight-under-par after 14 holes and in sight of the course record of 63 – and even the first round of 62 or better in men’s major championship history – but bogeyed the 15th after hitting his approach over the green and three-putting from long range.
He made up for the blemish with a birdie on the 18th as his good form of late was again highlighted.
Spieth has finished 1st-2nd-2nd in his last three events and needed no reminder of what it would mean if he managed to get his hands on the green jacket on Sunday.
“Everyone wants to win this golf tournament,” said Spieth whose closest contenders are Jason Day, Justin Rose, Ernie Els and Charley Hoffman, all of whom shot 67s to lie three back.
“It leaves your name in history and a legacy, and the hardest thing to do is to put that behind you when you start on the first hole, I think.”
“I think I certainly thought about what I’m expecting coming in,” he added.
“It’s tough to sleep on a lead here and I saw that last year. But at the same time, I’m a lot more confident in the way that I can handle certain situations, and the patience level I can have, having closed a couple of events out since and seeing some putts go in obviously today.”
Meanwhile Day, who was part of the final threesome, had a particularly interesting round in which he parred the opening seven holes before his afternoon caught fire with birdies at eight and nine.
There were then five successive birdies from the 12th, with a couple of bogeys also thrown in to the mix for the former Masters runner-up.
In between Hoffman and Day there were five-under-par scores for Rose and Els who made an eagle-three at 15.
Russell Henley and Sergio Garcia were a further stroke back after 68s, with the latter posting just a single bogey all day.
Tiger Woods could only manage a share of 41st place at one-over-par while world number one Rory McIlroy started off with a solid 71 to leave him one-under in a tie for 18th place.
Tyrrell Hatton eyes Ryder Cup spot after winning Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship
Hatton carded a closing 66 to finish 18 under par.
Tyrrell Hatton wins Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship as Rory McIlroy misses out
Rory McIlroy leads the way in Abu Dhabi as he eyes overdue victory
McIlroy will have to keep his Ryder Cup team-mates at bay if he is to claim the trophy.
Tyrrell Hatton dominant as Rory McIlroy falters in Abu Dhabi
Hatton led by five shots at the end of a second weather-affected day.
Phil Mickelson on Tiger’s latest surgery: ‘I feel bad because golf should be a game of a lifetime’
Mickelson admitted he was saddened by the news of Woods’ latest back surgery.
Rory McIlroy makes brilliant start to fog-affected Abu Dhabi Championship
McIlroy has a remarkable record in Abu Dhabi with four second-place finishes.
Rory McIlroy shines in Abu Dhabi to take first-round lead following flawless 64
Justin Thomas on end of Ralph Lauren deal: ‘They moved on so that’s what I’m doing as well’
Justin Thomas said he was upset by...
My last win feels a long time ago – Rory McIlroy aiming to start year on a high
McIlroy has not tasted victory since November 2019.
Rory McIlroy insists Justin Thomas will ‘try to be better’ after homophobic slur
World number three Thomas was heard using a derogatory word towards himself after missing a par putt in Hawaii.