Spieth surprised by first round score

Jordan Spieth punches the air after a birdie on the 18th hole during the first round of the Masters golf tournament Thursday, April 7, 2016, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Jordan Spieth punches the air after a birdie on the 18th hole during the first round of the Masters golf tournament Thursday, April 7, 2016, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Jordan Spieth got more than he bargained for after starting the defence of his Masters title with a flawless 66 yesterday.

Spieth defied swirling winds at Augusta National to card six birdies and no bogeys in a round which he rated more highly than the opening score of 64 which set him on the way to a record-breaking wire-to-wire victory 12 months ago.

“I would have signed for two under today and not even played the round, knowing the conditions that were coming up,” Spieth admitted after finishing his round.

“I got a lot out of the round with what I felt like was kind of average-ish ball-striking. Just scored the ball extremely well, which is something I’ve been struggling with this season.

“I got the most I could probably get out of my round today. I think the round today may have been better than the first round last year because of the conditions - I definitely could make that argument.

“The round a year ago, in my opinion, wasn’t even an eight-under round. It was more like a nine or 10-under round. I messed up 15, which should have been a birdie at the time, considering I only had really four iron into the green.

“So the way I was playing, I would say, was better a year ago, but the score that came out of the round may have been (more) impressive today. I’m just very pleased with it and I put it up there with one of the best rounds I’ve played; one of the best rounds I’ve scored.”

Playing partner Paul Casey was similarly impressed after matching Spieth’s six birdies but also recording three bogeys to card an opening 69.

“I was impressed by everything today,” Casey said.

“That was a flawless round of golf. When he got into trouble.... he bailed out in the right place and what could have been an error, he turned into a wonderful par save. It was absolutely flawless.

“One of the toughest days I’ve ever seen around Augusta National. I played a wonderful round of golf, but it was great to have a front row seat to watch that.”