The Open 2015: Spieth off to another solid Major startJuly, 2015
Texan opens with efficient five-under 67
There was, supposedly, too little preparation time, too much pressure and too little course knowledge for Jordan Spieth. After seven holes the 21-year-old was five shots to the good, come the end of the round he had signed for a 67 and was already right in the hunt to make history.
Six players have kicked off the year with victories in both the Masters and US Open, only one, Ben Hogan, has gone on to win the Open Championship too. For Hogan that would be his only appearance in the game’s oldest Major, for Spieth this is his third start and equalled the 67 he shot on the Saturday at Hoylake.
Spieth made three at his first two holes and after a fourth birdie at the 6th he had birdied a third of his Major holes in 2015 – a highly impressive 50 of 150.
There was the odd blip, he drove into a fairway bunker at 13 and missed a shortish putt at the Road Hole after a visit to the iconic bunker, otherwise Spieth was as brilliantly efficient as ever. Putts from around the 15-feet mark continued to drop and there was a 25-footer to sign off on with the trademark left-to-right break.
It wasn’t quite at the level of the 64 that he opened with at Augusta but it was more than acceptable.
“I hit a drive that would have been in big, big trouble on any other hole. Luckily it was the 18th at St Andrews. I walked the entire thing off. It was like 92 yards I walked to the green because we weren’t sure from that angle how far we had. To see that putt go in was nice. To steal the one back from 17 and to shoot even par on the back nine, which once you turn into that breeze, is a good score,” the Texan said.
“It’s hard to argue with somebody who’s splitting bunkers at about 380 yards" – Spieth on Dustin Johnson
At Chambers Bay Spieth was very quick to praise his caddy Michael Greller and, again, he was quick to point out the efforts that his right-hand man goes to.
“Our game plan worked out perfectly. Michael has walked two or three extra rounds on this course this week already. He also was out here at 4am this morning walking the course and the pins. It takes a little extra work when we’re over here maybe than if we were over early, but all in all, we had complete trust in our knowledge.”
Spieth had the best seat in the house to witness Dustin Johnson’s dismantling of the Old Course as the runner-up from Chambers Bay put together an error-free 65 which included an eagle at the 5th.
“It’s hard to argue with somebody who’s splitting bunkers at about 380 yards and just two-putting for birdie on five or six of the holes when there’s only two par 5s. I don’t have that in the bag, so I’ve got to make up for it with ball-striking.
“There was no chat about the US Open at all, as I wouldn’t imagine there would be, other than talking about the differences in the course. I expect when he stands on the tee it’s going to be up there miles and down the fairway. I also expect that I can birdie each hole when I stand on the tee. It just happens to be a little different route.”
The first part of the job has been completed, Spieth is off again at 2.34pm on Friday.