(Reuters) - Jordan Spieth backed up his words with a six-under-par 64 to move within one stroke of the first round lead at the Byron Nelson in Texas on Thursday.
Six days after missing the cut at the Players Championship, Spieth signaled his intentions at his hometown event with a chip-in birdie at the first hole at the TPC Four Seasons Resort in Irving.
He continued to take advantage of benign conditions on the rain-softened layout on a day when Spaniard Sergio Garcia, New Zealander Danny Lee and American Johnson Wagner led on 63.
Thirty players could not complete the round due to a morning weather delay.
Spieth played his first PGA Tour event at the 2010 Byron Nelson when, at the age of 16, he tied for 16th.
But the world number two returned with a question mark over him, after his back nine meltdown at the Masters last month.
He subsequently took four weeks off, before returning to action last week at the Players Championship, where he made an early exit after two poor rounds, during which he was often grumpy and frustrated.
But he maintained there was nothing wrong with his game apart from a bit of rust, and if Thursday was not a definitive proof, it certainly was a step in the right direction.
“Holing the chip (on the first hole), I really saved a stroke-and-a-half on that shot,” he told reporters after finishing in semi-darkness.
”Took advantage of the easier holes and made a couple of mid-range putts.
“Lost a little control with my iron play on some pretty easy shots that I will look to improve on but other than that I‘m pretty pleased.”
Garcia, in his 301st start on the PGA Tour, also enjoyed a good day on the course where he made his first tour appearance as a professional in 1999.
A precocious teenager then, he is now a veteran whose putting touch has deserted him in recent years, preventing him from reaching the greatness he hoped for.
But Garcia could not complain about his form on the greens as he rolled in a 60-foot eagle at his 16th hole, the par-five seventh, on his way to an inward half of 29.
“Very happy with that,” the 2004 champion told Golf Channel. “I had a couple of really nice saves and then really got going on the back nine, making a couple of bombs that really helped.”
Lee and Wagner also had bogey-free rounds.
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty