LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - Jordan Spieth and Sergio Garcia, both past champions at Colonial Country Club, finished the first day of the Charles Schwab Challenge tied atop the leaderboard as both fired bogey-free rounds on Thursday (May 27) in Fort Worth, Texas.
Spieth, who took the tournament trophy five years ago, and Spain's Garcia, the champion back in 2001 at age 21, shot first-round 63s to earn a two-stroke advantage over the rest of the field on a windy day.
Jason Kokrak and Eric Compton share third place after shooting 65. Brandt Snedeker, Kramer Hickok and Canada's Adam Hadwin are tied for fifth after carding 4-under 66s.
Six players ended at 64 on Thursday - Patton Kizzire, Cameron Tringale, Talor Gooch, Robert Streb, Colombia's Sebastian Munoz and South Korea's An Byeong-hun.
Spieth, who can snag the top spot in the FedEx Cup rankings with a win this week, started on the back nine and was four under through his first 15 holes. He added a trio of birdies from the seventh to ninth holes.
The hot finish gave the Dallas native his best-ever round at the course.
Spieth has posted top-10 finishes in seven of his past 10 events overall.
"Made some putts, got started on the first hole today, that one goes in... and that's what I talked about before the tournament," Spieth said.
"If I could get a couple to go in early in the first round and the confidence... and the work I've been doing on my stroke the last few days, which is a somewhat significant change in a stroke feel, I thought that would exude just a little bit of confidence into the rest of the round on greens where I've been very successful on before."
Garcia, whose first career PGA Tour win came at Colonial, began quietly on the front nine, starting at one under through seven holes.
But a four-hole flurry of three birdies (eighth to 10th holes) and an eagle on No. 11 powered him to his lowest score on Tour since the first round at the AT&T Byron Nelson in 2016.
"I'm not going to lie, conditions weren't easy," Garcia said. "Obviously because of the rain, the course wasn't too firm, even though it firmed up nicely between yesterday and today.
"But yeah, it was quite breezy. It was gusty, so it wasn't easy to pull some of the clubs. There were some tough holes out there, but I was able to hit really good shots on those holes, and a couple up-and-downs when I needed them, so very happy with the way it went."
Spieth was playing in a threesome with Phil Mickelson, who was just for days removed from becoming the oldest major champion when he won the PGA Championship. The two-time Colonial champion (2000, 2008) shot a three-over 73 in a round that included five bogeys.
"Yeah, I didn't play well," said Mickelson, who is tied for 87th. "I shot three over. But I won the PGA, so ...
"It was almost like I was trying a little too hard, and I wasn't just calm and let it happen, and I was a little bit antsy. What would be the word? Unsettled would be the word. Like I just couldn't quite get calmed down in that same frame of mind."
Daniel Berger, the defending tournament champion, began with a two-under 68, leaving him among 10 players in a tie for 14th place.