FORT WORTH, Texas -- Jordan Spieth doesn't need vindication.
He knows he's getting closer to his old form on the golf course and isn't overly concerned with outside critics or voices wondering what's wrong with the one-time darling of the sport.
"It doesn't really bother me at this point," Spieth said of being asked constantly about his so-called slump.
"I know what I needed to work on and I knew it was going to take a bit of time, so it's nice personally to see the results off of how I know I've been progressing."
Thursday proved to be another step in the right direction for Spieth. He opened the Charles Schwab Challenge with a 5-under 65, just one stroke behind leader Tony Finau (6-under 64).
Spieth and Finau are two solid names at the top, but the five players ranked in the Top 10 competing this week all failed to break par in the first round. Reigning champion Justin Rose, the No. 3 player in the world, shot a 4-over 74. Reigning British Open champion Francesco Molinari, ranked No. 7, shot a 1-over 71.
Bryson DeChambeau (No. 8) had a 2-over 72, Rickie Fowler (No. 10) had a 4-over 74 and Xander Schauffele (No. 9) shot 6-over 76.
Rose, Molinari and Schauffele were part of the afternoon wave where conditions were a little tougher with winds picking up and greens getting firmer throughout the day. But that's the nature of the sport.
Canadian Roger Sloan matched Spieth's 65, and then there is a nine-way tie for fourth at 3-under from a group that includes TCU alum J.J. Henry and major champions Jason Dufner and Jimmy Walker. Colleyville resident Ryan Palmer posted the only bogey-free round of the day and is part of a nine-way tie for 13th at 2-under.
All eyes, though, are on Spieth. This is a guy who won his first PGA Tour event in 2013 at the John Deere Classic, just his 24th start. He went on to have a breakout season in 2015, winning five tournaments (including two majors).