AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - Jordan Spieth made a rousing start in a quest for his first major title on Thursday with an eight-under-par 64 that has only been bettered by two other rounds in Masters history.
Twenty-six players have shot a record 63 in major championship play but only Nick Price in 1986 and Greg Norman in 1996 have posted that at Augusta National.
The 21-year-old Spieth, however, did not think he played particularly well despite seizing a three-shot lead as the Masters’ youngest first-round leader.
“I didn’t drive the ball particularly well,” said Spieth, who finished runner-up last year at the Masters without breaking 70. “Didn’t strike the ball great (but) got some good breaks and capitalized on some really good breaks today.”
The red-hot Spieth had a victory and two runner-up finishes in his last three events and rode that confidence into Augusta.
“I carried a lot of momentum into this week,” said Spieth, who scaled down his practice to keep himself fresh for the week.
The tactic worked as Spieth showed off his all-round game to trump the field.
Not one of the longer hitters on tour, the cool-headed Spieth drove the ball with accuracy, hit the greens and showed off a splendid putting touch to supplant Spanish great Seve Ballesteros as the youngest player to lead after 18 holes.
Ballesteros was 23 years old when he led the 1980 Masters after the first day on his way to victory, and the charismatic Spaniard would have turned 58 on Thursday had he not succumbed to cancer nearly four years ago.
Spieth was poised to threaten the majors scoring record as he collected eight birdies without a bogey through 14 holes with the reachable par-five 15th coming up.
The young American overshot the green with his second shot, chipped up weakly and three-putted for his only bogey.
“After I played 14, I said, ‘let’s try and get one here and maybe get to 10. That would be the lowest round that I’ve ever shot in a tournament round,'” Spieth said.
Spieth crowned his round by rolling in a 20-footer to birdie the 18th and complete the 64.
“That capped off a really fun round,” he said.
Editing by Greg Stutchbury