When Jordan Spieth recorded a triple bogey on his third hole at the RBC Heritage, it presented a familiar reality for the three-time major champion.
He can’t go a round without committing a high score on a hole.
But Spieth showed his resilience the remaining 15 holes.
He birdied seven of his last nine to shoot a five-under 66.
“I told Michael on 13, I said, all right, that’s over,” said Spieth to reporters after his opening round. “Let’s get four today and shoot under par for the day, and that’s the new goal. I ended up getting a few more than that.”
Spieth is searching for his first PGA Tour win since the 2017 Open Championship. In his first tournament back last week at the Charles Schwab Challenge, Spieth was one back of 36-hole leader Harold Varner III after two rounds.
Shooting just two-under on Saturday and one over on Sunday last week at Colonial knocked Spieth out of contention. He hit 12 fairways over the last two rounds, leaving difficult shots to get up and down.
Despite finishing in a tie for 10th, Spieth gained a lot of confidence. He rolled in putts from long distances and hit wedge shots with a greater sense of ease.
“I expect to be not quite sharp yet,” Spieth said. “You start to feel more comfortable the more experiences you get. I just tried to tell myself– if you’re putting it in play off the tee here, you’re going to get some wedge opportunities.”
Spieth hit his last 11 greens in regulation, his longest streak of the 2020 PGA Tour season. Birdieing six straight holes, Spieth set a new personal best for consecutive birdies in a round.
His back-9 score of 29 put him within two of the lead.
Make it 6 straight birdies for @JordanSpieth. 👏
That marks the longest birdie streak of his career. 🐦 pic.twitter.com/2WEgmNd08O
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) June 18, 2020
“In the middle of it, I thought, this would be cool to birdie the last eight,” Spieth said.
Thursday’s round marked the third time in Spieth’s career where he made eight or more birdies at Harbour Town. It is Spieth’s 31st round since 2013 converting 8+ birdies, the most of any golfer during that span.
If Spieth is going to win this tournament, eliminating the mistakes is crucial. The 11-time PGA Tour winner is aware of this, continuing to progress as he reacclimates to the grind of the season.
“If I work my way in over the next couple rounds on Sunday, I expect to feel a little more comfortable than I was last week,” Spieth said. “So I’m giving myself grace, but that’s not to say I’m not expecting to do better and better each week.”