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AT&T Byron Nelson 2021: Jordan Spieth, J.J. Spaun Share Lead After Opening Round

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVMay 14, 2021

AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

Jordan Spieth came to play on Thursday. 

One of golf's biggest names shot an impressive 9-under 63 on Thursday at the AT&T Byron Nelson in McKinney, Texas. That put him in a tie atop the leaderboard with J.J. Spaun. 

Rafa Cabrera Bello (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Doc Redman (-8) and Joseph Bramlett rounded out the top five. 

It was a strong showing for Spieth in his first appearance at the Masters following a bout with COVID-19. 

"Nobody I was around ever got it," he told reporters earlier in the week about his coronavirus diagnosis. "And then it was the Wednesday of New Orleans when I started my symptoms -- and it was bad for a day and a half, and then it was just kind of annoying for the next five days. Kind of lost energy and sinus stuff."

He certainly looked back to 100 percent, with seven birdies, an eagle and zero bogeys. 

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

Looking dialed early. 👀<br><br>Beauty from the bunker gets @JordanSpieth to -3 thru 5. pic.twitter.com/1n9ArEAlJH

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

Bad lie. RIDICULOUS shot from @JordanSpieth. 😳 pic.twitter.com/bAArp2CyaF

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Kyle Porter @KylePorterCBS

Jordan Spieth today ...<br><br>• Chunked a chip<br>• Nearly bladed a tee shot on a par 3<br>• Hit one out of the woods from 247 yards to 9 ft.<br>• Made nine 3s<br>• Shot 63

He saved the best for last, with a wildly impressive eagle to close out his round:

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

The perfect read. 👏 pic.twitter.com/r9e3SP2vkE

The pairing of Spieth, Will Zalatoris and Scottie Scheffler—three old friends who spent much of the day talking trash as they played through the round—was the highlight of the first round. 

But let's not forget about Spaun, who joined Spieth atop the leaderboard after finishing the day with nine birdies. 

"I haven’t been in this position in a while," he told reporters. "I’m just going to keep trying to do what I been doing last week and this week. … Just stay in the present. You know, don’t be scared. Fire away. Make as many birdies as I can. If I do it, great. If I don’t, well as least I tried. That’s the mindset I’m going into for the rest of this week."

As for the rest of the field, Spieth wasn't the only one to make his return Thursday. Brooks Koepka (-1) is back in action for the first time since the Masters, while Hideki Matsuyama (-4) also returned after his green jacket.

Matsuyama, who won the Prime Minister’s award after becoming the first Japanese player to win the Masters, said he was using the Byron Nelson "to try to find my game again and prepare for the PGA Championship next week."

The Byron Nelson will resume Friday, with the field looking to keep pace with Spieth and Spaun. 

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