Saturday, 20 October, 2018

Weather becomes a factor at British Open

Jordan Spieth Alastair Grant AP
Frederick Owens | 23 July, 2017, 13:42

Can he go wire-to-wire at Royal Birkdale?

Greller backed away. Spieth took his club back, made contact, and drained it. You've really got to be creative.

Spieth, 23, is looking to win a major for the first time since he claimed the Masters and US Open titles back to back in 2015.

The forecast for Thursday is mostly fine with winds gusting to 20-25 miles per hour in the afternoon, while Friday will be breezy in the morning with outbreaks of rain in the afternoon.

"He does it quite often, it's just whether it penetrates my head is a different thing", McIlroy said.

"But somehow I was able to find it halfway through the round and, again, that's what I'm going to concentrate on going into tomorrow". "I feel today it helped a lot more than at other times because I needed something". I thought if I could make a couple more on the back nine, then it's going to be a great score. That's when play was briefly suspended for 15 minutes and the rain poured down and the grounds crew squeegeed the greens. It was job done, though, as he repaired part of the damage with a birdie at the long 17th.

"My patience wore a bit thin around the turn. And it turned around for me, thankfully", he said.

"Massive", he said about the chip-in par.

"I was happy that my family wasn't there, and maybe a little disappointed I wasn't".

England's Lee Westwood putts on the 10th green on the first day of the British Open Golf Championship, at Royal Birkdale, Southport, England Thursday, July 20, 2017.

Chris Wood would probably have made the cut with a par on the 18th and nearly certainly with a birdie, but chose to make absolutely certain by holing out with an eight iron from 194 yards for an eagle. Spieth bogeyed 16 and parred his last two. "We had a good time." - was in step with the familiar slogan about what happens in Vegas staying in Vegas. So I'm playing about where my score stands I think. McIlroy also shot 71 and was relieved.

That gave him a 5-under 65 and a share of the lead with Jordan Spieth and Matt Kuchar.

Kuchar called the conditions trying.

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It's going to be very hard for you to fly them but leave them short of the next set of bunkers.

But only nine golfers are in the red, including Ian Poulter who is back to his best form after almost losing his ticket.

Poulter also called his round "boring", but it was just tiresome enough to keep him in the mix.

"Now it makes the day even sweeter".

Koepka said he felt no extra pressure following his U.S. Open triumph at Erin Hills.

Sitting just five back is Rory McIlroy, who finessed his way to three birdies in six holes before battling through stronger winds the rest of the way.

They had a one-shot lead over Paul Casey and Charl Schwartzel on a day that started nasty and ended with 39 players breaking par.

"To be in after two days and be under-par for this championship after the way I started, I'm ecstatic with that", said McIlroy.

Rickie Fowler and Masters champ Sergio Garcia are both at two over, and Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm are three over.

McIlroy comes into the third major championship of the season on the back of three missed cuts in his last four events, including back-to-back early exits from the Irish Open - where he was defending champion - and last week's Scottish Open.

Five-times major tournament victor Phil Mickelson missed the cut after a triple bogey on the par-four third made life hard for the left-hander who shot 77. With heavy rain forecast for Friday, he said getting off to a strong start was vital.

Spieth will play in Saturday's final pairing alongside Kuchar, a teammate and fellow "pod" member during the past two Ryder Cups.

When the average golf fan thinks about The Open Championships, tough scoring conditions come to mind. He was asked about his nerves sleeping on the 36-hole lead.

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