He has some catching up to do.
A birdie at the par 5 13th set him on a blazing run of five straight birdies, and although he bogeyed the last after an errant tee shot, Spieth now takes a three-shot lead over Tony Finau and Matt Kuchar into day two.
This marks the ninth time in 17 career Masters rounds that Spieth ends the round with at least a share of the lead.
The humps and hillocks of Augusta National bring out the best in Jordan Spieth, requiring him to draw upon the innate abilities bequeathed on him at birth. "It's riding momentum from last week".
Tiger Woods made his first Masters appearance since 2015 and finished 1-over par.
At the par-4 11th, where the fabled corner starts, Woods's drive sailed right; his low second shot smacked a member of the gallery and landed in the rough; his chip stopped 20 feet from the hole; and his par putt missed.
"This tournament often feels like there's six rounds with how the weekend grind is", said the 24-year-old.
Finau, ranked No. 34 in the world, stuck around for the final two holes and then gingerly walked to a golf cart and was driven off the course. As we all found out during that second nine on Sunday, it wasn't, but would it be something if we got a showdown between the former Boy King and the current one at a place that has so fascinatingly defined them both.
That's presuming Spieth doesn't do what he did in 2015, and run away from the field by hitting greens, sinking putts and practicing the course management of a player twice his age. Finau went down, the ankle contorted, and he popped it into place. He cleared hundreds of fans before attempting to play through a spectator walking area. 14 and 16 saved his round. "It's one of those things". Even as well as Spieth looked, it might be hard for anyone to pull away.
It was just tough to score, with the greens slick and firm and several tough pin positions, mainly toward the front of the greens.
Defending champion Sergio Garcia shot himself out of tournament at the 15th hole, where he dumped five straight balls into the water.
Garcia matched previous high scores carded by Tom Weiskopf at No. 12 in 1980 and by Tsuneyuki "Tommy" Nakajima at No. 13 in 1978.
- There are no Minnesotans playing in the Masters this year, but the first-round leaderboard featured a slew of players our state may want to claim, the way you might try to reunite with a long-lost cousin who just won the lottery.
McIlroy, bidding for a career grand slam in Georgia, was three strokes behind Spieth and ensconced in a seven-way tie for fourth - a group which included birthday boy Henrik Stenson and Spain's Rafa Cabrera Bello - following a three-under 69.
Early-wave leaders Bernd Wiesberger of Austria, Marc Leishman of Australia and 2007 champion Zach Johnson are at 70 with late finishers Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler, while Vijay Singh of Fiji (who won this event in 2000), Satoshi Kodaira of Japan, Cameron Smith of Australia, Xander Schauffele and Louis Ooshuizen of South Africa shot 71 on Thursday to finish three strokes off the lead.
Finau flew the back of the seventh green on the Par-3 course and spun it back into the hole for an ace. "I just hit some really solid iron shots on that back nine to go with just some solid, inside of 10-12 feet, putting".
Woods was similarly pleased with a bogey.
Faced with a lengthy third, Spieth knocked a hybrid long and left into the patrons, but he managed to limit the damage to a six with a sublime pitch to tap-in range.
One moment Garcia was fighting to get back to even par and in contention at the Masters.