Spieth relishing Waialae return

11 January 2018 22:38:35 GMTPlus11

Jordan Spieth is used to creating drama, but 12 months ago he was witness to it as Justin Thomas, his playing partner in round one of the Sony Open, smashed a superb 59.

The two golfers are, of course, more than fierce rivals. They have also been close friends since childhood so the return to Waialae Country Club for this year's tournament is a sweet one.

"It was really, really cool to be in the same group," said Spieth ahead of this year's opening lap. "Being able to root for him on that last green, well I think I might have fist pumped harder than he did.

"The most surprising thing was that I was like a stroke-and-a-half or something better tee to green than he was that round, and I got beat by like seven shots. It was pretty amazing."

Last week Spieth made a clumsy start in the Tournament of Champions; his first round 75 left him T-30th, but he recovered to end the week tied ninth.

"I fought really hard after that first round and worked my way into a top-ten finish. So really proud and a good rebound."

This week's course, flat and twisting, is a contrast to last week's challenge.

"Here you have to kind of work even irons off the tees a certain direction on one hole and hit a three wood the next hole that works the other way," Spieth added.

"You've got to pick smaller, more specific targets here and think a little bit more than you do at Kapalua. I think it will be a better gauge (of my form) this week."

Spieth, who was third last year, is 5.50 to win the tournament and 1.95 to triumph in his round one three-ball against Xander Schauffele and Daniel Berger.

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