SINGAPORE – Jordan Spieth showed no signs of fatigue on the latest leg of his globe-trotting tour, taking a share of the lead at the Singapore Open on Thursday despite having his agent caddie for him.
The world’s top-ranked player began with a birdie at Sentosa Golf Club and birdied three of his last 10 holes to complete a bogey-free round of 4-under 67.
That was enough for a share of the clubhouse lead with An Byeong-hun of South Korea, the next highest-ranked player in the field at 26 in the world.
Spieth, who has played his past five tournaments in five different countries, was forced to turn to his manager Jay Danzi to carry his bag after his long-time regular caddie Michael Greller injured an ankle in Abu Dhabi last week and skipped the trip to Southeast Asia.
By his own dizzy standards, Spieth was not at his best during his opening round, driving well but misjudging most of his approach shots to the green, although there were some mitigating circumstances for the 22-year-old.
He avoided the worst of Singapore’s stifling humidity when he teed off in front of a big gallery just after sunrise and made a perfect start when he drained a 20-foot birdie putt on the 10th hole, his first of the day.
The Texan made par at his next eight holes as he struggled to get his yardage right on the unfamiliar course before picking up another shot on the par-5 18th to reach the turn at two-under.
He then had birdies at each of the par-5s on the front nine at the co-sanctioned Asian and Japan Tour event.
“For the positions I was in off the tees, it was a little frustrating,” Spieth said. “I felt like the entire day today was very stress free driving the ball, which is the most important part out there, but from there I just couldn’t get it on the right tier.”
“I just couldn’t quite get the right distance. My distance control was just off, trying to judge the wind, the humidity and the heat.”
Co-leader An shot identical scores to Spieth on each of their 18 holes, while Japan’s Hideto Tanihara began strongly with birdies on five of his first nine holes before two late bogeys pegged him back to a 68, a shot off the leaders.