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Jordan Spieth struggles to 76 at Valspar Championship

PALM HARBOR, Fla. -- The place that led to a dream season for Jordan Spieth a year ago produced no such good feelings on Thursday during the first round of the Valspar Championship.

Spieth, the defending champion, bogeyed five of his first seven holes on the way to a 5-over-par 76 at the Innisbrook Resort's Copperhead Course, managing just a single birdie.

He's tied for 117th in the 142-man field, nine shots behind co-leaders Keegan Bradley, Ken Duke and Charles Howell III.

"It was tough; wasn't a very good round,'' said Spieth, the No. 1 player in the world. "I got off to a poor start and I was behind the eight ball with gusty winds on a tough golf course.

"I've been feeling good about my game. I probably would have shot 5-under yesterday in the pro-am. Unfortunately right now on my off days ... typically my history is I'm able to hold that around even par and I'm just shooting too high a number. I didn't quite squeak out even today, even though it was an even kind of round, and hopefully less wind tomorrow and I can work hard and play on the weekend.''

Spieth was mostly scrambling to stay in play. He hit only seven of 13 fairways and just six of 18 greens -- including only two over his first nine holes on Copperhead's back nine.

He bogeyed both par-5s on the back and made just a single birdie. And when he went to the front side, he failed to birdie either par-5, making eight pars and a bogey.

At the turn, Spieth still had hopes of getting back to even par.

"I thought 2-under would be a good score and 4 would be fantastic,'' he said. "I just didn't hit enough greens. I had the opportunities on a few holes today and actually there were a lot of holes where I thought I hit great shots and was posing and it's 10, 15 yards off back on the gust of the wind.''

Spieth's playoff victory at last year's Valspar Championship was the first of five on the PGA Tour. A month later, he won the Masters, added the U.S. Open, the John Deere Classic and the Tour Championship.

He started 2016 with an eight-stroke victory at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, then tied for fifth in Abu Dhabi and was second in Singapore.

Since then, Spieth has cooled off, with a 27th-place finish at Pebble Beach, a missed cut three weeks ago at the Northern Trust Open -- where he opened with a 79 -- and a tie for 17th last week at the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral.

"He obviously didn't have a good day,'' said Henrik Stenson, who finished second to Spieth in the FedEx Cup last year and played with Spieth on Thursday, shooting 71. "I think he's just running a bit out of steam. ... He's traveled a lot, had a tough schedule. I think he's a bit flat on energy and needs a bit of time to recover.''

Spieth may get that if he misses the cut. He is not entered in next week's Arnold Palmer Invitational, then has the WGC-Dell Match Play and the Shell Houston Open in the two weeks leading up to his title defense at the Masters.