(Reuters) - Jordan Spieth returns to very familiar territory for this week’s AT&T Byron Nelson in Irving, Texas, though he has a score to settle at the TPC Four Seasons Resort where he has finished no better than joint 16th in six starts.
His best ever performance came in 2010 when he got his first taste of PGA Tour competition as a 16-year-old schoolboy on an amateur exemption, but Spieth has since struggled to bring his top form to the event held close to his hometown of Dallas.
“Always fantastic to be back at this event and I’m going to walk around with a smile on my face this week and hopefully work my way into contention,” the American world number two told reporters while preparing for Thursday’s opening round.
“It’s been kind of a tough event for me. The golf course hasn’t suited my game as well as it did in those early couple years but I got some momentum off of the last year and belief that we can work our way into contention.”
Spieth tied for 16th at the Nelson in 2010 after shooting impressive scores of 68, 69, 67 and 72, then shared 32nd place the following year after fading with a 77 in the final round.
In his three starts since, his best finish was a tie for 30th last year.
“I was on my ‘A’ game for all four rounds in 2010 and three out of the four in 2011, but I just haven’t had my ‘A’ game this week since then,” said U.S. Open champion Spieth.
“But I feel great about the way I’m hitting the ball right now. I didn’t have my putter last week and did some good work with (swing coach) Cameron (McCormick) the last two days and I seem to have gotten that back.”
Spieth missed the cut by one shot at last week’s Players Championship in his first PGA Tour start since his shocking collapse at last month’s Masters, where he threw away the title after being five strokes ahead with nine holes to play.
“I know it was something simple and it was,” Spieth, a seven-time winner on the PGA Tour, said of his work since the Players Championship. “So, if we can just continue to do that and roll those putts in, we’ll be in business.”
Spieth will have to contend with a solid field at the TPC Four Seasons Resort where seven of the world’s top 20 will be competing, including eighth-ranked American Dustin Johnson.
Australian Steven Bowditch, who has missed the cut in his last five PGA Tour events, defends the title he won by four shots last year.
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue