Reigning FedEx Cup champion Jordan Spieth has mastered some of the toughest golf courses in the world, but he thinks Bethpage Black at The Barclays might just be the most difficult he has played.
After jumping out to three under on his first eight holes, Spieth dropped shots on four of his last 10 holes to ultimately fall back to even par.
Spieth knows he can make up ground in a hurry, though, with the two-time major winner five strokes adrift of co-leaders Patrick Reed and Martin Laird in New York.
"Yeah, it's one of the toughest ones," Spieth said after his first round on Thursday. "It's up there in the top few toughest courses I've ever played.
"If they made the greens firm today, it would have been unplayable on a few holes. It was very tough, challenging, but fair today. We just had it really, really tough in the afternoon with those winds so high."
Spieth added: "If I can go out and shoot three or four under tomorrow, I'm back in the tournament. With three holes to go, potentially staying at two-under, going to three-under, that's right in the thick of things. And dropping back to even, I've got an uphill battle now. But on this golf course, you can make up a lot of ground with a good score."
Spieth, 23, won the FedEx Cup last year after a great win at East Lake in Atlanta.
While he would obviously like to win the trophy again this season -- and the $10million prize that comes with it -- he is not thinking about it quite yet.
"My focus is on obviously this tournament," Spieth said. "We don't really think much of the whole FedEx Cup. You want to build momentum obviously for East Lake, but winning is a nice way to build momentum. So that's kind of the main focus this week.
"Maybe once I get to East Lake. But right here, I don't have a great history at this tournament. I like this golf course and the way it's playing, and I showed that today. Very rarely do I get to a point in the round where I finish worse than I was at that point and I dropped three shots from where I was at one point today."