Defending champion Stenson and Spieth paired for British Open

Ruben Hill
July 17, 2017

Henrik Stenson has cast doubt on the chances of him retaining his Open Championship title at Royal Birkdale next week.

Paul Casey (1.26pm), Lee Westwood (2.59pm) and Phil Mickelson (3.10pm) are the pick of the afternoon bunch with the first tee shot of the day at 6.35am going to 1998 victor here, American Mark O'Meara.

Stenson will be joined by former world number one Spieth and Players Championship victor Kim when he tees off on Thursday morning. I always dreamed of winning The Open as a young man.

"I know I'm not really where I want to be in my game", admitted the Swede after finishing the Scottish Open with a four-under-par 68.

"You never know, it might be the only time we're defending champion at the Open Championship so I might as well enjoy it", Stenson said.

Following Stenson's group will be 2010 Open champion Louis Oosthuizen, England's Justin Rose and American Justin Thomas.

AFTER MISSING THE cut in his last two events, Rory McIlroy has been paired with world number one Dustin Johnson and South African Charl Schwartzel for the opening rounds of the Open Championship this week.

Home favourite Tommy Fleetwood will partner US Open champion Brooks Koepka and Japan's world No 2 Hideki Matsuyama off the first at 10.09am. He will be playing with American Ryan Moore and England's Chris Wood.

Belgium's Ryder Cup hero Thomas Pieters and Padraig Harrington, who successfully defended his Open crown at Birkdale in 2008, kick-start their bid for glory at 9.36am.

Irish Open victor Jon Rahm has been paired with Patrick Reed and Lee Westwood at 2:59pm, with 2013 champion Phil Mickelson, Francesco Molinari and Marc Leishman in the group behind.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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