By Ann Liguori
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Jordan Spieth shot a stellar 8-under 64 in the first round Thursday at Augusta National, nine birdies overall — his only blemish was a bogey on the 15th.
A 9-under 63 would have tied the Masters record for low round (Nick Price shot a 63 in the 1986 Masters in the third round and Greg Norman’s 63 came in his opening round in 1996).
Spieth said he wasn’t even aware of his score at that point, only that he thought he played it too safe on 15 and used the wrong club, contributing to his bogey after he overcooked his approach shot.
“I was frustrated because I felt like we played it too safe,” reflected Spieth about his club selection, using a hybrid, for his approach shot on the 15th. “If I hit a 4-iron solid, it’s a perfect club. I can hit it in the right bunker and it’s an easy up-and-down from there. And if it turns over towards the hole, then it’s a perfect club.”
After the bogey on 15, Spieth parred holes 16 and 17 and then drained a birdie putt on 18, finishing with an exclamation point!
“It’s one of the better rounds I’ve ever played,” said the understated Spieth, who won the Valspar Championship in March and finished second at the two PGA Tour events in Texas leading into Masters week.
Talented Aussie Jason Day, with five straight birdies on the back, got to within two shots of Spieth, before bogeying the 17th. Day finished with a 5-under 67, tied for second with Charley Hoffman, Justin Rose and Ernie Els.
Tiger Woods, rusty from lack of tournament play, finished with a plus-1 73. Tiger, with three birdies and four bogies, struggled off the tee a bit, had a solid short game and missed a few birdie opportunities. The 39-year-old is tied for 41st.
Phil Mickelson finished with a 2-under 70. Bubba Watson and Rory McIlroy, at 1-under, are seven shots back.