Golf: Spieth returns to form and grabs lead at Travellers Championship

Jordan Spieth put an end to his putting woes during an impressive Travellers Championship debut on Thursday (June 22), and grabbed a one-shot lead after the first round in Cromwell, Connecticut.
Jordan Spieth put an end to his putting woes during an impressive Travellers Championship debut on Thursday (June 22), and grabbed a one-shot lead after the first round in Cromwell, Connecticut.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

CROMWELL, CONNECTICUT (REUTERS) - Jordan Spieth put an emphatic end to his putting woes during an impressive Travellers Championship debut on Thursday (June 22), grabbing a one-shot lead after the first round in Cromwell, Connecticut.

World No. 3 Rory McIlroy, who missed the cut at last week's US Open after sitting out a month with a niggling rib problem, was among a group of 18 golfers four shots back in a share of 19th place.

Australian Jason Day (72), who also missed the cut last week in the latest misfire of what has so far been an underwhelming season, has plenty of work ahead if he plans to play the weekend after mixing a double-bogey with three bogeys and three birdies.

Defending champion Russell Knox finished on one-under 69.

Spieth has already switched putters twice this season but his current flat stick was working just fine on Thursday, the world No. 6 snagging five birdies in his first eight holes en route to a seven-under 63 at TPC River Highlands.

 
 

He closed his round in style with birdies on three of his final six holes, including at the par-four 18th where his wedge from 136 yards stopped within five feet of the hole, to take a slender lead over Johnson Wagner and Brett Stegmaier.

"We played the practice round and the pro-am and really thought this was a good track for us. Sometimes you just fall into that," said Spieth.

His putting prowess spurred much of the success early in his career but the 23-year-old has gone cold on the greens this year, most recently last week at the US Open where he finished in a share of 35th place.

But the Texan, seeking his second PGA Tour win of the season, looked more than comfortable on his first trek around the TPC River Highlands layout where he had it all clicking and equalled his low round of the year.

Northern Irishman McIlroy started on the back nine where he collected two of his four birdies. He snared a 15-footer at the par-four 17th but followed up with a bogey, his only miscue on the greens all day, when he missed a three-footer for par.

Among those level with McIlroy are Patrick Reed, Swede David Lingmerth and Jim Furyk, whose final-round 58 last year at the Travellers is the lowest round on the PGA Tour.