Jordan Spieth shoots 63 for early lead at FedEx St. Jude

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Jordan Spieth kept a clean card and clean pants even without having to roll them up to his calves on a rain-soaked track. On Thursday, he opened a one-shot lead in the FedEx St. Jude Championship with 7-under 63.

Spieth threw an eagle chip and hit a crucial par putt on the 17th to take his first 18-hole lead on the PGA Tour since the Sony Open in January. He missed the cut the next day in Honolulu. That won’t be possible at the TPC Southwind – the 70-player field has no cut.

The PGA Tour postseason got off to a sloppy start. Storms dropped 5cm of rain early in the morning, causing a delay of just over two hours and sending players off on both sides. The greens were soft but fast. The TPC Southwind was muddy and muddy.

It wasn’t the best day to wear white pants.

Tom Kim, who knows a little about mud, probably should have known better. He decided to roll up his pants to look like capris. He was level with Spieth for a short time until a late bogey sent him to a 64.

“I didn’t want to get dirty,” Kim said. “I just don’t like it. I had a really bad week once this year so I’m really trying to stay away from it.”

It was more of a bad day at Oak Hill for the PGA Championship. He went into a swampy area to look for his tee shot, slipped, and came out with his shirt and pants smeared with mud.

Kim is packing light for the three-week phase of the FedEx Cup Playoffs.

“I had to make sure I could use these pants for a really long time, so I had to make sure they stayed really clean,” he said.

Collin Morikawa had six birdies on a 65, joining Emiliano Grillo two strokes behind. That’s $6,000 towards Hawaii wildfire relief efforts, as Morikawa pledged $1,000 per birdie during the playoffs. Born in Lahaina, his grandparents once owned a restaurant on Front Street that closed many years ago.

Jon Rahm had dirty pants and a scorecard to match. As the No. 1 in the race for the $18 million FedEx Cup bonus, he was doing well until he shot his tee shot wide on the par 5 16th and had to save a bogey. He hit the water two holes later and almost found the water again on his third shot on the 18th. That was a double bogey.

His top nine – Rahm started 10th – wasn’t much better with three bogeys leading to a 73. He ended up bogeying with three putts.

Rahm played alongside the next two top seeds, Scottie Scheffler and Rory McIlroy, who both posted 67s. Scheffler had 2 overs too early and responded with six birdies on his last 12 holes.

“Obviously it’s frustrating when you see everyone making birdies and you’re down two overs after four or five holes,” said Scheffler. “It was frustrating but I persevered well and played really good golf afterwards.”

McIlroy was disappointed he didn’t hit deeper off the tee, which was crucial on a day when players could lift their golf balls out of the short grass, clean them and put them back.

“I don’t know if I can remember a lap that I’ve done that well, at least recently,” said McIlroy. “I drove really well today and got so many looks from the fairway. When I went off the pitch I was a disappointment with 3 unders.”

Spieth was good from start to finish. He had three birdies in five holes, had a couple of important par-saving putts, and then saved his best for a chip-in for Eagle on the 16th.

“You try to attack the crucial holes where you get a wedge if you make a good drive,” said Spieth. “I hit the fairways on those holes and that was important. On the really hard holes you just have to try to get it on the surface and make par.”

Spieth sits 31st in the FedEx Cup and is guaranteed to be in the top 50 of the field of 70 who will be promoted to the BMW Championship next week. That secures players a seat in eight $20 million signature tournaments next year.

The ultimate goal is the top 30 to achieve the Tour Championship. So this will be an important week for Spieth to advance far enough in the overall standings.

Lucas Glover was ranked 112th before winning the Wyndham Championship last week and moved up to 49th. With that shot of confidence, he opened with a 66. Glover was never a fan of the FedEx Cup Playoffs or the scoring system. So he tries to keep it as simple as possible.

“I think if I take care of myself, I’ll make it,” he said. “That’s how I like it – it’s up to me. I’m not going to draw for or against the man in 50th place or 51st place or whatever. I feel like if I do my job I’ll be in Chicago next week.” I think that’s probably how it should be.

Emma Bowman

Emma Bowman is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Emma Bowman joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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