I won the battle in my head today, says grinding Spieth

Thu Jun 30, 2016 8:27pm EDT
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(Reuters) - Clutch putting and a final four-birdie flourish helped Jordan Spieth transform what might have been a 75 into a remarkable two-under-par 68 in Thursday's opening round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio.

The American world number two produced dismal form from tee to green, especially on his front nine where he hit just one green in regulation, but he "did a great job mentally" as he made par putt after par putt to work his way into contention.

Spieth's fortunes improved markedly after the turn and he reached six of nine greens in regulation before capping a round to remember with birdies on his last four holes at Firestone Country Club in Akron.

"I really won the battle in my head today," a smiling Spieth told Golf Channel after totalling just 21 putts and chipping in to save par at the eighth.

"I could have shot four or five-over pretty easily with the way that I was striking the ball tee to green.

"We (he and his caddie, Michael Greller) have really tried to approach this tournament as the turnaround for the second half of the season, and I think it was a really good start."

Renowned for his brilliant putting, Spieth took great encouragement from the way he had been able to eke out a sub-par total on a challenging layout while not at his best.

"If we can grind those kinds of rounds out and shoot under par on tough courses, we are in good shape," said the 22-year-old Texan, already a double major champion.

"Just holding in there when I felt like it was all going wrong, to be actually in contention and not have thrown myself out of it, this bodes well. Hopefully we can improve on today."   Continued...

Jun 30, 2016; Akron, OH, USA;  Jordan Spieth of the United States watches his tee shot on the sixth hole at Firestone Country Club - South Course. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports