The WGC – Dell Match Play: Jordan Spieth opens with a win but admits "it wasn’t pretty”

The local man downed Keegan Bradley 2-up to kick off Group 11 in style at Austin CC as he seeks a weekend clean slate.

Three-time major champion Jordan Spieth got his campaign at the World Golf Championship - Dell Technologies Match Play off to an excellent start with a 2-up victory over Keegan Bradley in Group 12 at Austin Country Club.

Ahead of the action Spieth, who hails from Texas, had said: "Austin is a second home to me and I have a lot of great memories in this city. It's really fun to play this format on a golf course that we played in college."

He added: "My group is full of major champions and they've all been playing pretty good golf this year, as well. Pretty good group then."

Twenty-four hours later, after Bradley made double bogey-7 at the 16th and bogey-5 the 18th, Spieth admitted: "It wasn't like a pretty match. I didn't lead until 16 (so only) felt in control briefly.

"I'm very pleased. If you lose your first match, you don't control anything going forward. You're not out of it, but I thought today might be kind of a tough one.

"I know Keegan's such a good driver of the golf ball that around this place. The only fairway he missed today was a hybrid he hit right down the middle and it went through the fairway on 10. Sorry, he missed two, he missed at 15.

"So when somebody is in position like that every hole, it makes it a little bit challenging mentally, especially when I did not drive it particularly well myself."

The new father was also a little bothered by his performance on the greens after a lap that included three birdies and two bogeys.

"I just didn't make a putt outside of six feet the whole day," he said. "I felt like I was hitting good ones. The putt on 15 (from 9 feet 3 inches), I felt really good about the finish to the round after that.

"I felt jittery and like I was knocking rust off in a way, even though it's mid-March, which shouldn't be the case. I felt as if it was the start to the season in a way."

The reason for that? "THE PLAYERS was just a mess, the two rounds I played."

He carded 72-79 there.

In the other Group 11 match Australia's Adam Scott defeated Englishman Justin Rose 2-up.

Scott will play Bradley on Thursday, with Spieth taking on Rose.

Spieth had made an interesting point pre-tournament, when discussing the distinct nature of this match play event.

"If I make the weekend I guess the worst I can do is ninth, like a top 10," he said.

"But at the same time, it's like, 'If I beat this guy all of a sudden it's a top 5 and a chance to win.'

"It's also just a really good feeling knowing you have a chance with that clean slate on Saturday.

"There's been some years I've advanced to the weekend where I've played worse than other years where I didn't advance. That's just the way this tournament goes.

"But that clean slate that makes you feel like you are tied for the lead in a sense and it is a totally different feeling than making the cut on the number."

Elsewhere on day one there were big wins for Maverick McNealy over Joaquin Niemann (8&6), Will Zalatoris over Cameron Tringale (5&4) and Lucas Herbert over Tony Finau (4&3), while Paul Casey conceded his match to Corey Conners after just two holes.

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