RBC Heritage

Harbour Town Golf Links

Players Championship

Players 2021: A (very good) streak came to an end for Jordan Spieth on Friday morning at TPC Sawgrass


Sam Greenwood

PONTE VEDRA BEACH — Jordan Spieth’s opening round of the Players Championship was surprisingly steady, particularly off the tee. At a course as penal as TPC Sawgrass, Spieth staying out of trouble was a minor miracle.

Turns out, Spieth has been avoiding one of his patented disaster holes for quite some time now, which is part of the reason he’s been able to collect three top-five finishes in his last four starts. Keeping the card clean keeps you in contention, apparently. What a novel idea.

Unfortunately, the pessimistic part of everyone’s brains had to wonder—could he possibly keep this up? Sadly, no, as Spieth made a double bogey on his fifth hole, the par-4 14th. After driving down the middle of the fairway, the three-time major winner hooked his approach into the front left bunker, then hit his third well over the green. His chip back toward the pin rolled eight feet past the hole, and he missed the ensuing bogey putt. This marked Spieth’s first double bogey or worse in 412 holes:

Spieth’s last double came in the opening round of the November Masters at the par-3 16th. He shot a two-over 74 that day, then went on to make the cut and finish in a tie for 46th.

He’s in much better shape than T-46 this week, though. After just missing birdie at the 15th, Spieth converted on a seven-footer for birdie at the 16th, then went par-par to turn in one-over 37. He’s currently one over on the day, one under for the tournament, just six off the lead of Sergio Garcia, who tees off at 1 p.m.