Fort Worth - Masters champion Jordan Spieth drained a 19-foot birdie at the
final hole on Thursday to join a four-way tie for the lead at the $6.5 million
Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.
Playing in front of delighted fans near his hometown of Dallas, Spieth was
unfazed by the three-hour delay that pushed back the start of play, recording
six birdies without a bogey to tie Japan's Ryo Ishikawa and fellow Americans
Kevin Na and Boo Weekley atop the leaderboard on six-under 64.
Spieth, ranked number two in the world, drew a massive gallery when he teed
off at 3:36 pm, the times pushed back after overnight rain and thunderstorms.
He opened with back-to-back birdies and picked up another stroke at the seventh,
then nabbed three more birdies coming in.
Spieth, whose sensational victory at Augusta National made him the first
Texan to win a major title since Justin Leonard won the 1997 British Open, is
playing in his home state for the first time since then.
And he was feeling right at home.
"I'm comfortable enough hitting my nine- eight- seven-irons into the
green right now," he said. "They're so receptive that you can still
fire them right at the flag."
Spieth did miss the green four times, and each time his putter rescued him.
He made three par-saving putts from off the green, and at 18 his birdie effort
was from just off the green.
"That really keeps the momentum going," Spieth said.
Na and Weekley teed off early and set the target.
"I started out great, hit a lot of good shots. I felt like my iron play
was an A-plus performance today and I made some great putts when I needed to
for par," said Na, who had seven birdies and one bogey.
Na's quick start isn't a surprise. He shared the 36-hole lead at the Players
Championship a fortnight ago, eventually finishing equal sixth.
"If I keep putting myself in that position, I'm going to get some
wins," said Na, whose only US tour win came in 2011.
Weekley had six birdies without a bogey, despite playing with a sore back.
"Not really swinging at it real good right now because of my
back," he said. "We just tried to manage it knowing that we couldn't
hit the full shots."
Weekley's putter was working just fine, as he made all 12 of his putts from
inside 10 feet to position himself for a run at a second Colonial crown to go
with his 2013 title.
Ishikawa also teed off in the afternoon and enjoyed a round highlighted by a
chip-in for birdie at 17 -- his eighth hole of the day - and back-to-back
birdies to cap his round at eight and nine.
Ishikawa, 23, is still seeking his first win on the US tour after winning
six of his 11 Japanese Tour titles before the age of 18.
Leading first-round scores on Thursday in the US PGA Tour Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial (USA unless noted, par-70):
64 - Kevin Na, Boo Weekley, Ryo Ishikawa (JPN), Jordan Spieth
65 - George McNeill, Ian Poulter (ENG)
- Danny Lee (NZL), Ben Martin, David Hearn (CAN), Colt Knost, Charley
Hoffman, Ben Crane, Luke Guthrie, Marc Leishman (AUS), Zac Blair
- Kevin Kisner, Tony Finau, Jerry Kelly, Jeff Overton, Brandt Snedeker,
Rory Sabbatini (RSA), Hunter Mahan, Steve Stricker, Shawn Stefani