Jordan Spieth Lurking After Solid 1st Round at 2019 British Open

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJuly 18, 2019

US golfer Jordan Spieth putts on the 6th hole during the first round of the British Open golf Championships at Royal Portrush golf club in Northern Ireland on July 18, 2019. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE        (Photo credit should read ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP/Getty Images)

For the first five holes on Thursday, it looked like Jordan Spieth might set the Royal Portrush golf course on fire with his red-hot play. 

He cooled off considerably after that, however, starting his Open Championship with a one-under 71 in the first round of play. 

That left Spieth four strokes behind JB Holmes, who at the time of publication was atop the leaderboard at five-under.

He shot up the leaderboard early with birdies on the second, third and fifth holes. For a moment, it looked like the Spieth of old had descended upon Royal Portrush:

But a double bogey on the eighth and a bogey on the 11th erased all of his early success. 

He finished with six pars and a birdie on the 12th from there, however, stabilizing his round and keeping himself within striking distance of the leaders.

Spieth hit 42.8 percent of fairways, 66.6 percent of greens in regulation and averaged 1.6 putts per hole, according to TheOpen.com.

All in all, Thursday's round was a solid performance from Spieth. He didn't play himself out of contention like other big names. Rory McIlroy, for instance, shot a shocking 79. Tiger Woods found himself at 6-over par after 13 holes. Phil Mickelson finished with a 76.

Spieth has had a tough season. He has yet to register a win, and while he has three top-10 finishes, his 21st-place showing at The Masters was a disappointment. His last major win came at Royal Birkdale in the 2017 Open Championship. 

It appeared the 25-year-old Spieth was on a legendary trajectory after winning both the Masters and U.S. Open in 2015, though he's come back down to earth in recent seasons. In some ways, his showing on Thursday reflected that trend. 

But Spieth is still oozing with talent, and nobody would be surprised if he took over this year's Open Championship in the next three days. He'll have a few things to clean up, but Spieth is in position to be a threat. That's always a danger to the rest of the field.