Ryan Moore said he has been watching his putts lip out all season.
However, several went in as the 36-year-old Moore shot a bogey-free 7-under par 65 to take a one-stroke lead over Jordan Spieth after the first round of the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club http://www.mvgc.org in Dublin, Ohio.
Moore, who made all 16 of his putts inside 10 feet, was especially surprised to see his nine-foot birdie putt do a 360-degree loop of the fourth hole and fall in.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a ball go that far around the hole and go in the hole,” said Moore, who has won five times on the PGA Tour, but not since the 2016 John Deere Classic. “And in the five to eight-foot range, they seemed to be lipping out (this season), and today they lipped in a couple of times. So it’s always nice to get that stuff going and get the momentum and keep the momentum, just makes you feel better.
“I’ve had two kind of really good finishes, and then a bunch of very moderate golf up around that, so I’d like to make it a little bit more consistent. I’m a guy that can be up there, like top-5s and top-10s, and either I’ve had it or haven’t had it this year, which is a little unusual for me.
“I kind of have to figure it out.”
Spieth, who seemingly has snapped out of a season-long slump by tying for tied for third in the PGA Championship and tying for eighth in the Charles Schwab Challenge in his last two outings, could have been tied for the lead if not for his only bogey on the eighth hole while finishing on the front nine.
Highlighting Spieth’s 66 was a 36-foot eagle putt on the fifth hole.
“It was OK,” said Spieth, who hasn’t won since the 2017 Open Championship. “Some more work to do on it. I missed three greens with wedges and plugged one in a bunker with a punch 8-iron. So I had four opportunities, ended up off the green on all of them.
“Some of those short clubs can certainly get a little tighter. Two chip-ins certainly helped. I felt like I stole a couple early in the round to be under par, and then just kind of played the shots that needed to be played.
“I hit a lot of fairways, which was nice, which gave me plenty of looks at birdie, and seemed to capitalize on quite a few of them.”
Marc Leishman of Australia totaled 67 to tie for third with Anirban Lahiri of India, Martin Kaymer of Germany, Bud Cauley and Vaughn Taylor, who sank a six-foot eagle putt on the fifth hole.
Patrick Cantlay of Los Alamitos and UCLA collected five birdies on the back nine to card a 68 and is tied for eighth with Andrew Putnam of Pepperdine, Russell Knox of Scotland and Kyoung-Hoon Lee of South Korea.
Ninth-ranked Xander Schauffele posted a 69 and is in a tie for 12th that includes Rickie Fowler of Murrieta, while five-time Memorial champion Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson finished in a tie for 23rd at 70.
Sixth-ranked Justin Thomas, returning from a right wrist injury that knocked him out of the PGA Championship, is tied for 30th at 71, while eighth-ranked Bryson DeChambeau of Clovis, the defending champion, shot 74 to tie for 78th, and third-ranked Justin Rose of England totaled 75 and is in a tie for 88th that includes fourth-ranked Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland.
For first-round tee times visit https://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html