Jordan Spieth gets off to a flier at the AT&T Byron Nelson – can he continue to defy fatigue?

On home soil, the Texan thrashed a superb 9-under-par 63 to join JJ Spaun at the top of the first round leaderboard at TPC Craig Ranch.

In a contest between lethargy and Jordan Spieth's naturally combative nature it's perhaps no surprise that the latter won.

Perhaps that might not have been the case in 2019 or 2020, but this year the American has rediscovered his mojo.

With his golf game in good nick, his spirits have been restored and in the first round of the AT&T Byron Nelson not even the after-effects of a brush with Covid-19 could stop him claiming a share of the first round lead.

Spieth tested positive shortly after the Masters; he arrived at TPC Craig Ranch this week with very little golf under his belt and the energy levels a little low.

"I really noticed it in my swings coming down the stretch," he said.

"I just got lazy in my lower body. On 18 I just said, 'This is the last one you got to do today. Let's give it everything you got.'"

The fatigue never stood a chance: he "roasted" a 3-wood 277-yards on the green and then drained a 55-foot eagle putt.

He signed for a 9-under-par 63 to share the lead with JJ Spaun, one blow clear of Rafa Cabrera Bello, Aaron Wise, Doc Redman and Joseph Bramlett.

Spieth will be confident in his quest for a first win in the tournament because he has an excellent record following an electric start.

He's claimed five wins from 11 solo and shared first round leads around the world and, by way of comparison, Dustin Johnson is 4-for-17, Jon Rahm 1-for-5, Justin Thomas 4-for-10, Rory McIlroy 5-for-28 and Bryson DeChambeau 0-for-4.

He is also 9-for-11 at ending the week top three after sitting on top of the leaderboard after 18 holes - in other words, he tends to hang around.

Throw in a fine track record in the week before a Major (three wins from 18 starts) and he looks a solid option at best price 11/4 with Unibet.

The concern would have to be that fatigue - will it pass as he gets more miles in his legs or will it slowly drain him?

Let's take a look at his first round stats and what he had to say to the media.

First round stats

SG Off the Tee - 0.881, 24th

SG Approach - 2.443, 9th

SG Around the Green - 0.282, 59th

SG Putting - 2.144, T16th

SG Tee to Green - 3.606, 6th

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Spieth on his jitters after the lay-off

"I had nerves on No. 1 like it was the first shot of the season. I didn't practice for three weeks straight which is very unusual. Normally two days off is the most during a season. So I was pretty nervous to get started. To make the birdie there was kind of cool. It was almost like the nerves that you feel with the first shot at a Major or Ryder Cup. But the calm birdie gave me a lot the confidence."

On fatigue towards the end of the round

"It was just my third round since the Masters and first round walking. I played nine holes walking on Tuesday. I noticed it in my legs. It's just one of those things. It's like with basketball players. Basketball shape is nowhere near golf shape, but when they miss ten games, it takes a couple of games to get your legs back."

On playing the par-5 12th and over-ruling caddie Michael Greller

"He saw an easy lay-up opportunity and then hit a wedge close. I saw hitting a hybrid, open the face up, and cutting it onto the green. The lie was actually better than it looked a little bit. I could get underneath it a little and flick up on it so that I could get it to launch a little higher off the bat.

"I knew it would go through some tall grass but didn't think it would knock much distance off. Luckily just committed to the shot. I mean, if I bailed out at all there, it could have been disastrous. But I committed and said, 'What do I have to lose? Let's get this thing up there near the green and make birdie.'

"It was a bonus to be the right distance and have inside 12 feet for eagle."

On his relationship with Greller

"In that situation everybody and their caddie is gonna discuss what to do. You either gain strokes or lose strokes with a decision, and I think for Michael it helped him when I said, 'This one is on me. I hear you. I know the risk. I'm going to take it and it's on me.'

"I think both of us really like when we're committed and in saying that, whether he's going to say I veto, this is a bad decision, you just made a bogey, trying to get it back kind of thing. That was more I feel good about the lie and I was thinking clearly and just said, 'This one is on me.'

"I hit it and he's just shaking his head laughing. It was cool. It was a bit lucky, but also it was a good recovery."

On playing with Scottie Scheffler and Will Zalatoris who he played with when they were all kids

"I said to Michael on the second hole, 'Mikey, this is weird. I remember being on the green with these guys when I was 13 and they were 11.' So what a cool experience to see that now and obviously the success they've had.

"I've had obviously tons of respect for both of them since then. If I'm ever asked about either one them I've said there is no doubt they'll be out here for a long time. There are a lot of things that I say that are 75% BS, but not that one."

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