HOUSTON (REUTERS) – Michael Thompson birdied his final hole to earn a share of the early first-round clubhouse lead at the Houston Open on Thursday (Nov 5) while Jordan Spieth squandered a good start with a back-nine collapse in the last tournament before next week’s Masters.
Thompson mixed six birdies with three bogeys for a three-under-par 67 at Memorial Park Golf Course to sit level with Australian Cameron Davis, and Scottie Scheffler, Harold Varner III and Carlos Ortiz.
“I play my best golf when I have no expectations,” said Thompson, who has struggled since he won his second PGA Tour title in July.
“It was probably a really good thing for me to play poorly over the last few months because it kind of gets me back to trying to be the best Michael Thompson I can possibly be.”
Sitting one shot behind the clubhouse co-leaders were Americans Adam Long and Kevin Streelman.
Defending champion Lanto Griffin, playing in a group with Spieth and four-times major winner Brooks Koepka (72), was one under through 13 holes but bogeyed three of his final five holes for an opening two-over 72.
Former world number one Spieth, seeking his first win since the 2017 British Open, held a share of the lead through 12 holes before making two bogeys and two double-bogeys en route to a three-over 73.
“Well, 15, 16, 17 are where you can make some birdies, but you can also get into some trouble,” said Spieth.
“So some risk-reward when you’re attacking stuff or whether you are or not on those few holes.”
World number one Dustin Johnson, No. 11 Tyrell Hatton and five-times major champion Phil Mickelson were among the late starters.