Spieth managed to hit trees with four consecutive shots on the otherwise benign par-4 8th hole at the Wailaie CC to fall from the top five on the leaderboard to mid-field at day’s end.
Chris Kirk and Zach Johnson share the lead after 7-under rounds of 63 on a packed leaderboard which sees 40 players within four shots of the lead.
That group includes Australia’s Cameron Smith whose 4-under 66 has him in a share of 11th place, the best of the six Australians in the field.
Matt Jones is a shot further back in a share of 20th with Marc Leishman and Monday qualifier Steve Allan both at 2-under and T41. Aaron Baddeley and Greg Chalmers are both over par and in the bottom half of the field.
The talk of the day, however, was Spieth and his spectacular meltdown which came on his second last hole of the day.
Teeing off the 10th the three-time major winner was 4-under when he arrived at his 17th hole and well in the mix at the first full-field event of 2018.
But things were about to take a turn for the worse as he pulled his tee shot left and hit a tree just 220 metres off the tee.
His first attempt at escaping caught an overhanging branch and travelled just 15 metres before dropping into the rough but there was worse to come.
His next also hit a tree as did his fourth before he finally escaped the foliage, though only to find a greenside bunker.
It's been almost 8 months since Spieth's last quad. pic.twitter.com/0x7nGiJ1Gy— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) January 12, 2018
He failed to get up and down from there and the ensuing eight dropped him back to the pack though a birdie at his final hole, the 9th, means he is still in the tournament.
Not surprisingly the 24-year-old declined to speak with the media after the round.
While Spieth was less than pleased as he left the course, Australian PGA champion Smith will be feeling confident after an opening round which saw him post six birdies.
The 24-year-old endured a horror start at last week’s Tournament of Champions on nearby Maui when he was 5-over through eight holes but there were no such dramatics this week.
Birdies at two of this first three holes was much more in line with his recent form and he went to the turn 1-under after a third birdie of the day at the 9th to offset two dropped shots.
Smith's incoming nine featured a clean card as he picked up shots at 10, 12 and 16 to sign for a 66 that has him in good position through 18 holes.
TRY ANGELA TATT'S NO-BALL BUNKER DRILL:
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