While Jason Day was tying the scoring record at The Players Championship, Jordan Spieth was never able to mount a charge up the leaderboard, posting an even-par 72 on Thursday, nine shots behind Day.
The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass was as easy as it's ever been on Thursday morning with six scores of 65 or better in the opening session. That set the record for the most in a single day in tournament history.
Spieth wasn't able to take advantage of the soft greens and calm conditions like Day, his playing partner, ending his round with a double-bogey 7 on the par-5 9th. It took away any positive momentum he had built on his second nine.
Spieth went over the green into the bunker with his second shot and then fluffed his third into the bank just above the bunker. His fourth shot landed and stuck just shy of the green on top of the hill and he followed that up with three putts for double bogey. After the round, Spieth wasn't really in the mood to discuss his issues on the ninth.
"I hit it seven times," said Spieth matter-of-factly when asked what happened on No. 9. "Yeah, just -- I hit two fantastic shots ... and then not really sure after that."
Even though he finished with an even-par 72 on a day when low scores were there for the taking, Spieth was still pleased with his overall game, saying he felt he only had two loose swings on the round.
"Yeah, I really only had two bad swings today," said Spieth. "I'm hitting the ball great, which is what I've really been working on the past couple weeks, trying to get more consistent and better ball-striking, better control of it. I'm hitting it -- I feel as comfortable over the ball and driving it the best I've driven it the whole year, hitting it great, just distance control and then my speed control with the putter, which are things that sometimes take a round or two to get back."
It was Spieth's first competitive round since his Masters implosion; as such, getting a feel for the putter is to be expected. However, it's not just finding the right pace for Spieth with the flat stick right now as he says that his sight lines are a bit off with the putter. He's trying to feel more comfortable with what he's doing on the greens.
"It's something that I'm trying to trust right now, and it feels like I'm going to hit it left when it's actually hitting it on line," said Spieth. "It's actually the same feeling I had at Augusta, and it worked fine there, so it shouldn't be a problem. I just need to trust it."
Under normal circumstances, a 72 in the first round of The Players Championship wouldn't be an upsetting finish, but with the way the course set up on Thursday, even par leaves Spieth with plenty of work to do to put himself in contention on the weekend.