It has been a while since Jordan Spieth looked as if he was finding it difficult to play golf.
The sport’s hottest property has been in fine form in recent months, announcing himself amongst the golfing elite after two near-misses at The Masters and the Players Championship.
The most remarkable thing about Spieth is that he only turned professional 18 months ago, but his rise has been so incessant that he is now ranked in the top ten players in the world.
At the opening day of the Byron Nelson Championships things weren’t quite so good, though.
Although, his opening round of 70 wasn’t particularly poor it also wasn’t brilliant and that is what the 20-year-old is starting to demand of himself. This consistent excellence is also why he has already been likened to having a similar potential to Tiger Woods, when he arrived on the scene.
Spieth is now five shots behind the leader Peter Hanson, who carded a score of 65, and will need to put together three rounds of his best golf if he is to end his search for a maiden victory in 2014.
"I kept myself in it," he to reporters for PGA.com. "It was a difficult day."
"I was upset today. I get upset out here when things aren't going my way because I want them to so bad. Michael [Greller, his caddie] did a great job of calming me down, putting things in perspective, and we got a couple [of birdies] to finish to get back in it."
Indeed, the opening day looked like a slog for the usually elegant Spieth. He only hit four fairways during his round meaning he was normally fighting to save par and he will need to be sharper off the tee for the remainder of the tournament if he is to lift the title.
A man who makes few errors, Spieth had to show his ability to come back today after an early set-back. He double-bogeyed – for only the second time in his last 15 rounds – the third to put himself on the back-foot, but birdies on the seventh, ninth and 10th kept his hopes alive.
The man he will be chasing won’t be easy to catch, though. Hanson looked in fine form as he went round in 65 to establish a one-shot lead ahead of a trio of challengers.
Spieth, however, does know where he needs to improve.
He said: “"I'm really happy with the way I'm keeping myself in it around the greens.
"I feel very confident and comfortable around the greens. Once I hit a few fairways, my iron play will be there and hopefully get back on track and make a run."
And with his recent form it is easy to see why he is so confident, too. Few golfers have experienced rises up the game that have been as dramatic as Spieth’s, but it does not appear to have reached its peak yet.
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