When Jordan Spieth described last week's PGA Championship host course Southern Hills as being like Charles Schwab Challenge venue Colonial Country Club "but on steroids" he was going with the flow.
The Major Championship course was deemed to be tough, the regular event something of a neat after-party.
But last week Rory McIlroy led the field after day one with a 65 and at the conclusion of play on Thursday at Colonial eight-men shared first on 66.
It was not quite as straightforward a picture as that - in general the field found the test easier - but it was difficult to go low in Texas and the leaders makes for an intriguing set of eight.
World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler is among them, a welcome rebound from the missed cut in the PGA Championship, and an effort that included not one bogey.
Patrick Reed has landed just one top 10 finish since the start of June last year, but has shown signs of a return to form and his participation in the early pacesetting group is further proof of that.
Ditto Webb Simpson whose injury woes of 2021 have become form difficulties this year; his T20th last week was his best of the calendar year.
They are joined on top by Harold Varner III (who has good recent course form at Colonial) and Chris Kirk (a past champion), plus Nick Taylor, Beau Hossler and Cam Davis.
"The course is playing harder than it does in a typical year here," the phlegmatic Scheffler said. "And anytime you make no bogeys, it's going to be a good round.
"At the PGA, I just kind of got on the wrong side of things and I made too many errors. That's what's going to happen in a major championship.
"If I didn't like bad draws or making crazy mistakes and stuff like that, I would have played a different sport. A lot of weird stuff happens in golf."
Last week's PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas carded a 71 for T57th.
Reed playing patient game
"It was steady," Reed said of his 66. "I hit a lot of fairways and playing this golf course from the fairway you're able to attack. Early on I hit a lot of really quality iron shots and great iron shots, just didn't quite capitalize on all the putts I should have."
Of his recent form problems he said: "Honestly I feel like there's been too many days that I've done a lot of things really well, just the number hasn't really reflected it.
"But the great thing about a season is it's a season. You have a lot of time left. If I just keep doing what we're doing and stick to our game plan, the game is going to come around. Honestly, I feel like the game is where it needs to be, I just need the ball to go in the hole a little quicker."
The details are grim. He won in early 2021 and was posting top performances right up until he was T19th at the US Open.
Then his form disappeared, he got an illness he refused to talk openly about, he was not picked for the Ryder Cup, he got in a kerfuffle about that and has never been the same since.
His last 26 starts have reaped only one top 10, when second in the Bermuda Championship (a result that was largely due to one low round on Sunday).
If he can land a top 20 this week it will be his first in 12 starts.
Spieth aiming to go low on Friday morning
Jordan Spieth has a deep and abiding love affair with Colonial.
In many ways it continued. A 69 to start is far from a problem: he sits just three back of the lead in a tie for 26th.
But he also knows it could have been better.
"I was really frustrated for some reason," he said. "I didn't play very smart early in the round but kind of got away with it being 2-under through five. On this course, you're typically thinking 4-under or more from there.
"So a little bit upset. My three bogeys were all just poor bogeys. Otherwise I'm up there right near the top of the leaderboard.
"I think tomorrow, with the wind being really low in the morning, I'm looking to take advantage of the golf course.
"Then the wind comes in on the weekend. You want to hang around when you're going to get these 20- and 30-mile-an-hour winds that's forecast."
And what exactly went wrong on Thursday?
"I missed some putts, so I think I can get on top of that. It was tough because the wind plays a significant role when the greens are this fast.
"I would love to just putt it the way I've been putting it. I feel like more and more will go in. But I've just got to hit more greens in regulation, and that starts back on putting the ball in the fairway.
"So ultimately just got to really dial in with that driver a little bit better."