Spieth Shoots 63 to Lead Kim by One Stroke in FedEx St. Jude Championship

Jordan Spieth brought his 2015 PGA Tour playoffs game with him.

Spieth, who captured the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup that season, carded a bogey-free, seven-under-par 63 in the first round of the FedEx St. Jude Championship to take a one-stroke lead over Tom Kim of South Korea at soggy TPC Southwind after overnight rain in Memphis, Tenn.

The top 70 players in the FedEx Cup standings are competing in the first round of the playoffs, with the top 50 moving on to the BMW Championship next week on the North Course at Olympia Field Country Club in Olympia Fields, Ill., with the top 30 following that event qualifying for the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, where the winner of the FedEx Cup will be determined.

“I feel good,” said Spieth, who highlighted his round with a 49-foot chip-in for eagle on the 16th hole. “It didn’t quite feel as tight ball-striking-wise, but then all of a sudden, I ended up hitting a good one on 15 and then chipping in on 16, so I think it was solid. I’ve been driving the ball really nicely and everything kind of goes from there.

“If I feel confident stepping into a driver, getting in front of some shots and hitting some nice ones, that normally feeds to the rest of the bag. The pivotal holes where you get wedge in your hand, if you hit a nice drive, you’re looking to attack. I did hit the fairways on those holes, and that was important. Then the really hard ones, you’re just trying to get it on the surface and tap-in for par.

“I think the state of my game, if I take care of me, I’m going to be there. That’s how I like it—it’s up to me. I feel like if do my job, I’ll be in Chicago next week and that’s the way it should be.”

Spieth, who hasn’t won since claiming his 13th PGA Tour victory and 16th as a pro in the RBC Heritage last season, birdied three of the first five holes before adding two birdies and his eagle on the back nine in the 63.

The 21-year-old Kim rolled up his white pants above his ankles, probably thinking of when he went into a marshy area in the PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club in Pittsford, N.Y., earlier this year, slipped and came out covered with mud.

“I didn’t want to get myself dirty,” said Kim, who already has won twice on the PGA Tour and 11 times as a pro. “I just don’t like it. I’ve had a really bad week once this year, so I was just trying to stay away from it, really.

“I had to make sure I was able to use those pants for a really long time, so I had to make sure they stayed really clean. I was able to do that and I played pretty well.”

Kim’s game also was pretty clean, too, as he started on the back nine and made four birdies before adding three more in a row through the fourth hole and then carding his lone bogey at No. 7 in his 64.

Collin Morikawa of La Canada Flintridge and Cal collected six birdies in a 65 and is tied for third with Emiliano Grillo of Argentina, who made five of his eight birdies on the front nine in his own 65.

Sixth-ranked Xander Schauffele of La Jolla and San Diego State, the 2021 Olympic Gold Medalist, sank a four-foot eagle putt on the 16th hole and is in a huge tie for fifth at 66 with Lucas Glover, the 2009 U.S. Open champion, who birdied the last hole; Kurt Kitayama of Chico and UNLV, who made four birdies coming home; Eric Cole of Palm Springs, who had four birdies on the front nine; Adam Svensson of Canada, who birdied five of the first 11 holes; J.T. Poston, who had five birdies and a single bogey; Taylor Moore, who sank an eight-foot eagle putt on the third hole; Tommy Fleetwood of England, who made three of five birdies on his back nine; Cam Davis of Australia, who made a 40-foot eagle putt on the third hole, and Aaron Rai of England, who played bogey-free.

Top-ranked Scottie Scheffler, who entered the week second in the FedEx Cup standings, made four birdies on the back nine in a 67 and is in a tie for 15th that includes second-ranked Rory McIlroy, the three-time FedEx Cup champion, who was third in the standings and hit a brilliant 205-yard shot to set up a tap-in eagle at No. 16.

Fourth-ranked Patrick Cantlay of Los Alamitos and UCLA, the 2021 FedEx Cup champion, made three birdies down the stretch and is in a tie for 34th that includes Max Homa of Valencia and Cal, who made two birdies on the last four holes.

Fifth-ranked Viktor Hovland of Norway shot 72 and is tied for 59th, while third-ranked Jon Rahm of Spain, the FedEx Cup points leader at the start of the week, struggled to a 73 and is in a tie for 65th that includes 10th-ranked Matt Fitzpatrick of England, both making only three birdies. 

For complete results, second-round tee times and the FedEx Cup standings, visit: https://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard

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