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Jordan Spieth Plans to Get Aggressive After Conservative Opening Round

Spieth shot a two-over 72 on Thursday, but will do more flag-hunting Friday afternoon to give himself a shot this weekend.
Spieth made four bogeys and two birdies on Thursday.

Spieth made four bogeys and two birdies on Thursday.

TULSA, Okla. — There’s always tomorrow.

Jordan Spieth has to think that way after a frustrating day at the office, where the three-time major winner was vexed after signing for a 2-over 72 in the PGA Championship at Southern Hills.

Coming into this week Spieth had a couple of positives to build on: a playoff win at Hilton Head the week after the Masters over Patrick Cantlay and then last week, a runner-up finish to K.H. Lee while making an eagle and 29 birdies.

Toss in the fact that Spieth is trying for the career Grand Slam, and Thursday’s flat performance was unforeseen.

“Even before the Masters this whole year, not one tournament have I come away saying I should have tried something different,” Spieth said after his round on Thursday. “And I didn't play much different. I haven't played much different in any event this year. I was just a little bit better at Hilton Head and then I made a few putts I needed to and then last week I just made a few more putts on an easier golf course.”

Spieth was unsurprised by everything he encountered at Southern Hills. Conditions were exactly as he thought they would be, and he executed most every shot as he drew it up, with the exception of a few drives that found the rough by a yard or two. But those small errors made scoring difficult, and he finished with four bogeys and only two birdies.

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“We thought that three under is a really good score today,” Spieth said of his target before the round. “And that was really the goal. Versus like last week, you're looking at trying to have six or seven as a good round.”

While Spieth missed some shots, he also played conservatively at times, which is against his more aggressive nature.

So, Spieth spent 30 minutes on the range after his lackluster round, much of it in conversation with caddie Michael Greller about his aggressiveness.

Spieth likes to attack, and Greller likes to take a step back, so Spieth was a little too cautious when he had birdie opportunities, and that was part of the cathartic discussion during the post-round range session.

“We're just trying to figure out kind of what the yardage is,” Spieth said of his wedge game. “Trying to see how they might play into the wind and when you're trying to take two clubs extra and chip it easy.”

Spieth admitted that if this had been the weekend, he would have done more pin-seeking, but this is Thursday, and he has 54 holes to chip away at a seven-shot lead playing partner Rory McIlroy holds over him.

The draw looked preferable for the morning/afternoon wave and Spieth sees an opportunity to get in good position for the weekend. But Friday is now more important.

“I'm disappointed in that because tomorrow afternoon is going to be very hard,” Spieth said. “I'm not out of it. But now you know, if you post something a couple under you feel like you can hang on tomorrow and then do some damage on the weekend. But now, tomorrow is going to be significantly more important.”

More PGA Championship Coverage from Morning Read:

> Round 1 Scores, Updates from Southern Hills
> Rory McIlroy Sprints Out of Gate with 65, Showing Confidence of Old
> UPS Dumps Lee Westwood on Heels of LIV Golf Waiver Request
> Hot Temperature, a Hot Start for Rory and a Frigid Brooks Koepka
> Tiger Woods Hobbles to 74 in Opening Round
> Masters Champion Scottie Scheffler Scuffles to 71, But Could Have Been Worse

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