Jack Nicklaus hit the nail on the head Thursday when he declared: “If you don’t score well today, you have no one to blame but yourself.”
On a day fit for scoring, on a course tailored to near-perfection, Jordan Spieth found his groove while Dustin Johnson and a lot of other big names stars did not.
Spieth finished his first nine with a pair of bogeys at 17 and 18 and looked like he’d lost his momentum. But he charged home with five front-nine birdies that gave him an opening 66.
Spieth’s momentum from the final round at Colonial kept going and put him within a shot of first round co-leaders David Lingmerth and Jason Dufner.
“We just stayed to the game plan,” said Spieth, who closed with a 65 last Sunday at Colonial and finished a shot behind winner Kevin Kisner.
Spieth was the only player among the big names who broke 70. Hideki Matsuyama shot 70 as did Phil Mickelson.
The world’s No. 1 player struggled mightily. Dustin Johnson finished his day with a 78, his worst round of the 2017 season. Columbus resident Jason Day didn’t fare much better. He shot 75. Jon Rahm bogeyed the 18th to shoot 73.
Lingmerth, the winner at Muirfield Village in 2015, had an incredible day with eight birdies, an eagle and three bogeys that kept him from going extremely low.
“I was rolling it good all day,” he said. “Got off to a nice start. I managed to scrape it around for a pretty good seven-under.”