FORT WORTH, Texas – Jordan Spieth called it a 20-minute hiccup. For those watching, it was more like a wild roller-coaster ride.
Following a solid start to his week, Spieth set out early Friday at the Charles Schwab Challenge looking like the player who has won 11 times on the PGA Tour, not the guy winless since 2017.
With six birdies through his first 11 holes, Spieth moved into the lead at Colonial and looked to pad his advantage with a 29-footer for birdie at No. 3, his 12th hole of the day. Four putts later, he’d dropped out of the top spot, and a bogey at the fourth had the look of a potential meltdown.
“I did a really good job of staying very neutral, where I’d been kind of getting really negative or down on myself for a little while in the past now. I felt that I gave myself some grace to say, look, I haven’t really been practicing a ton of those kind of short-range putts,” Spieth said about missing three consecutive 3-footers.
It was Spieth’s ninth four-putt on Tour and his first since the first round of last year’s WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational. That he birdied Nos. 5 and 6 on his way to his second-consecutive 65 likely softened the blow, and after struggling with his swing for so long he explained that his current quest is for incremental gains, not a breakthrough.
“I’m looking for the feels, and I was giving myself grace on the outcome, and as long as I stay focused on doing that this weekend, that keeps me progressing forward,” said Spieth, who was alone in second place and a stroke off the lead when he completed his round.