Watson sizzles at Barclays, Spieth struggles

Thu Aug 27, 2015 6:48pm EDT
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EDISON, New Jersey (Reuters) - Bubba Watson charged into a tie for the first-round lead at The Barclays on Thursday while newly crowned world number one Jordan Spieth struggled to his worst score of the year in relation to par.

Twice Masters champion Watson used a red-hot outward nine as a springboard en route to a sizzling five-under-par 65 at Plainfield Country Club, setting the pace with fellow Americans Spencer Levin and Tony Finau, and Colombia's Camilo Villegas.

New Zealander Danny Lee, Americans Jason Dufner, Cameron Tringale and Bryce Molder, and Britons Paul Casey and Russell Knox opened with 66s in the first of the PGA Tour's four lucrative FedExCup playoff events.

Spieth, however, was let down by his usually stellar short game as he limped to a 74 in his first competitive round since he replaced Rory McIlroy at the top of the rankings by finishing second at the PGA Championship 11 days ago.

"After the tee shots, that is the worst round I've played in years," Masters and U.S. Open champion Spieth, who hit 11 of 14 fairways on a challenging Plainfield layout, told reporters.

"It was really a very unique round for this year. I hit my first 11 fairways today and that's really hard to do out here.

"Typically when I hit the fairways, I'm not over par. That's what was weird about the round."

Spieth covered his front nine in a promising two-under 34 but then ran up five bogeys, a double at the par-three third after his tee shot found water and a lone birdie after the turn.

The best putter in the game recorded two three-putt bogeys as he carded his worst score since a first-round 75 at the Players Championship in May.   Continued...

Bubba Watson hits his third shot at the 18th green during the first round of The Barclays at Plainfield Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Eric Sucar-USA TODAY Sports