Jordan Spieth’s putter was once closer to a magic wand than to a golf club, and the former Longhorn had one of those days Thursday at the Valspar Championship.
The three-time major champion holed nearly 148 feet of putts in his bogey-free 4-under 67 to open at Innisbrook, including a 57-footer for birdie on the par-3 15th and a 31-footer for birdie on the par-4 sixth.
When he finished his opening round, he was gaining more than 4.5 shots putting, more than enough to lead the field.
“I was able to sneak a couple extras with the putter today,” Spieth said. “I've been feeling like my putting's been working towards where I really want it to be. I felt like I made a few really nice par saves from that 4- to 8-foot range that kept that round alive.”
Par was the name of the game for Spieth Thursday, with par streaks of four, seven and three holes. Having started on the par-4 10th at Innisbrook, Spieth got his round kickstarted with three consecutive birdies at Nos. 14, 15 and 16, eventually adding another birdie on the sixth. He could only play the four par 5s in 1 under.
As good as Spieth was with the putter, his performance with the driver kept a good round from becoming a great round. He hit just five of 13 fairways, gaining less than three-tenths of a shot off the tee.
“With only hitting like five-ish fairways, you do that around this place and shoot under par, it's pretty solid,” Spieth said. “My ball striking has been really solid, including off the tee, in the last month or so and it just needs to tighten up a little bit. I didn't feel like I did great work the last three days and it kind of felt that way today. So hopefully just gets better each day.”