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 Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial in Texas.
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-par 64.
Marc Leishman was the leading Australian in a tie for seventh after opening with a 67, two shots better than countrymen Jarrod Lyle, Geoff Ogilvy and John Senden in the $US6.5 million ($A8.2 million) tournament.
Spieth, ranked No.2 in the world, drew a massive gallery when he teed off at 3:36 pm, the times pushed back after overnight rain and thunderstorms.
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.
“You need to make some of those six-, seven-footers for par to keep your round going.”
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.