Saturday, 23 June, 2018

A glance at the first round of the British Open

Spieth among American trio leading at British Open Stuart Franklin Getty Images
Frederick Owens | 23 July, 2017, 12:55

The golfing world has grown accustomed to the Spieth highlight reel that is sprinkled with magical moments of brilliance.

Birkdale is hosting The Open for the 10th time all told, with Lee Trevino and Arnold Palmer among the former champions here. "There are a lot of tremendous young players right now", Spieth, the 23-year-old world number three, said on Tuesday. But bogies at the 3 and 9 holes had him backpedalling like the rest of the field. "It's more mental with me, just being mentally recharged and being relaxed".

Ryder Cup team-mate Kuchar will join Spieth in tomorrow's final group after he battled to a one-over-par 71 on a day when only six players, including Spieth, broke 70.

Padraig Harrington was the last victor at Birkdale, a stunning par-70 course that winds its way through the sand dunes, nine years ago.

But a bogey on 16 dropped him back to six under and it was there where he remained with two pars on the remaining holes.

Did Spieth say anything to him?

"When we played in that afternoon on Friday I think was the worst stuff I've ever played in", he said. "I feel a little guilty about taking 4 on the card".

Spieth only hit 36% of fairways, but he produced some magnificent iron shots and putted superbly. And it was the smart shot because it was probably going to come out better than the 3-iron. "But I need a cautious voice out there, sometimes I get myself into problems when I'm trying to force something".

"I'll maybe look back at the end of my career and be extremely satisfied or disappointed". You get excited to play golf.

He's been sharing tips on high-performance sport with Olympic swimming legend Michael Phelps and it showed in a golden opening round from Jordan Spieth at Royal Birkdale.

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Matt Kuchar's Blustery 2nd Round at the British Open
He has become accustomed to sleeping on the lead at a major championship and has become more comfortable in doing so. But Thursday's round - and the patience McIlroy displayed - was the round that kept him in the championship .


"It was really nice to capitalise on it and knock the putt in; it got me to a place I didn't think I'd get to, and I'm really happy with the round". I got away with one there. "Today is my day".

Jordan Spieth faces a good forecast and a long wait to take his two-shot lead into the third round of the British Open.

"I was watching the coverage [hoping] for even par and I'd still be there right now. It doesn't faze me", he said. So at that point this morning it was tough watching.

"It wasn't a great feeling knowing we were coming into something harder than what we were watching", he said. Ian Poulter and Brooks Koepka are on three-under, Scotland's Richie Ramsay is on two-under and Austin Connelly, Gary Woodland and Richard Bland are level with McIlroy on one-under.

Brooks Koepka, who won the US Open last month, hit three successive birdies from the 11th hole before making his only bogey at the 16th. I gradually grew a bit more comfortable and was delighted to finish the way I did.

"But we really haven't played this course in good weather".

"I felt like I was in control of the golf ball pretty much all day", he said.

The two-time major victor, who is seeking his first Claret Jug, was watching the early starters on television very much aware of the grim forecast that was set to bring torrential rain to join the high winds.

The giant 39-year-old had five birdies in his first nine holes as he went out in just 29. After a bogey-free round on Thursday, Kuchar was grinding, picking up three birdies and four bogeys (two in the last three holes) on his way to a 71.

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