Despite a prolonged stretch of PGA Tour finishes, Jordan Spieth declared his much-discussed slump to be over before last week's PGA Championship. But if the ensuing T-3 at Bethpage Black wasn't enough to convince others of his claim, what he did on Thursday at least proved he's back to peak form with the putter.
Spieth fired a five-under-par 65 in the first round of the Charles Schwab Challenge, and to say he was on fire with the flatstick at Colonial Country Club would be an understatement. The three-time major champ didn't miss from inside of 15 feet in what will likely turn out to be his all-time best PGA Tour putting performance. And that's saying something for a guy who has knocked in more than his fair share during his short, but illustrious career.
Starting on Colonial's back nine, Spieth was four under through eight holes before a double bogey on No. 18. But while big numbers have been derailing the 25-year-old Texan all season, he rallied to make four more birdies (against one bogey) on the back nine, including one on his final hole after knocking an approach shot to six feet on the par-4 ninth.
He also drained this bomb on the par-3 fourth:
Red. Hot. Spieth currently trails leader Tony Finau, who had an encouraging day on the greens himself, by one.
Spieth's last of 11 career PGA Tour wins came at the 2017 Open Championship. He previously won at Colonial in 2016.
Prior to the PGA Championship, Spieth hadn't posted a top-20 finish in 14 consecutive starts and had fallen to No. 39 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Although he was never seriously in contention on Sunday at Bethpage thanks to Brooks Koepka, his final result was important for a player who had previously had the worst weekend scoring average of anyone on tour.
Spieth also led the field in strokes gained: putting at the PGA, and entered this week at 11th on tour in the important metric. During his historic 2015 campaign in which he won two majors, Spieth ranked seventh in the stat. In 2016, he was No. 2, but fell to 48th in 2016-17 and 123rd last season. After watching his last five rounds, though, that feels like ages ago. And if he keeps this up, snapping that winless drought shouldn't be too far off.