The start of the 2017 PGA Tour season got underway Thursday at the SBS Tournament of Champions in Hawaii, and defending champion Jordan Spieth was at the center of attention as first-round action unfolded at Kapalua Resort.
Spieth, who's coming off an up-and-down 2016 season, opened the fresh slate with a rather discouraging showing of one-under that has him tied for 22nd place overall entering Friday.
Here is Spieth's complete first-round scorecard:
|Jordan Sipeth at the 2017 Tournament of Champions (Rd. 1)|
|Rd. 1 Score||4||3||4||4||4||4||3||3||5|
|Rd. 1 Score||4||3||4||5||4||6||4||4||4|
Jimmy Walker sits atop the leaderboard with 18 holes in the books, but Jim Herman, Justin Thomas and Ryan Moore aren't far behind:
Spieth's day started in mundane fashion with pars on each of his first four holes, but he did turn heads when he expressed frustration on an apparent mishit off the tee at No. 2 that still managed to find the green, as the PGA Tour documented on Twitter:
And while Spieth carded four pars in as many holes to start his day, he found red numbers on No. 5 when he converted his first birdie of the season.
Spieth funneled home another birdie on No. 7 when he knocked a 203-yard approach shot to within six feet of the cup, and a cool, calm and collected putt allowed him to move to two under for the day as he approached the back nine.
The 23-year-old converted pars on hole Nos. 10 to 12 to hold steady at two under, but a shaky effort on the par-four 13th interrupted his solid stretch. He produced a bogey after his tee shot missed the fairway entirely.
Struggles continued to plague Spieth on the par-five 15th, and at that point it was clear his short game wasn't in the most polished form. Although Spieth's approach shot put him within 100 feet of the flag, he couldn't put himself in position for a birdie or short par putt in order to stay in red numbers down the back stretch.
Spieth rounded the day out in par-par-birdie fashion, and it should go without saying that he has plenty of room for improvement Friday as he seeks to build some momentum entering the weekend.
Per PGATour.com, the two-time major champion posted a mark of minus-1.244 in terms of strokes gained putting, and his driving accuracy percentage of 73.33 didn't help matters on a day when consistency was elusive on a hole-to-hole basis.
And according to Golf Channel's Justin Ray, Spieth may already be out of contention since the last six winners of the Tournament of Champions have been within two strokes of the lead after the first round.
However, if Spieth's resilience throughout 2016 was any indication, he should return Friday and fire his way deeper into red figures to make things interesting before moving day.
Once his round was over, Spieth broke down where things went wrong on a day when he couldn't establish a rhythm:
"Looking at the board right now, somewhere in the low 20s is probably the winning score," Spieth said, according to GolfChannel.com's Rex Hoggard. "I need to try and shoot 7 [under] each day. It's certainly easier said than done, but we've also done it here before."