Co-leader Kuchar underway in British Open second round

Ruben Hill
July 21, 2017

US Open champion Brooks Koepka and Matt Kuchar joined Spieth in an all-American top of the leaderboard. To start with a 29 on the front nine at an Open is just a fantastic way to start.

American trio Jordan Spieth, Brooks Koepka and Matt Kuchar hold a share of the lead on day one, carding the first 65's during an Open at Royal Birkdale since 1998.

The two were two shots ahead of Ian Poulter and Justin Thomas.

The downwind 17th, one of just two par fives on the course, unsurprisingly proved the easiest with a scoring average of 4.542 thanks to nine eagles and 68 birdies.

"I thought (yesterday's) round was extremely important, as they all are, but given the forecast coming in, I thought you really needed to be in the red (under par)", the 23-year-old said.

"Everything was strong. I thought I give it a nine across the board for everything - tee balls, ball-striking, short game and putting". So things are in check. "It's just about keeping it consistent", said Spieth, who fueled himself up on a breakfast of eggs, bacon, avocado on toast and orange juice.

However, a different McIlroy appeared after the turn to grind back four shots, which included three birdies on his last four holes to complete an impressive comeback to finish his round at one-over-par.

"Our last start was a win [and] I also was very close at the U.S. Open and very close at the Masters, " he said. So essentially missed two greens today in some 15-mph winds.

Spieth had not played competitively since winning the Travelers Championship on his last start three weeks ago by holing a bunker shot on the first hole of a play-off with Daniel Berger.

It is Koepka's first tournament since he won the U.S. Open at Erin Hills to capture his first major championship.

It was a fine return to the big stage for Poulter, who had not appeared at a major since the Masters previous year and had to settle for a role as a television commentator at the Open 12 months ago while sidelined through injury.

Only Woods, Bobby Jones (twice), Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Lee Trevino and Tom Watson have achieved the feat.

"But because I knew how far balls were carrying from our session this morning, I was able to know how far that ball would carry and then I can trust that".

Among the leaders, Kuchar, Paul Casey and Charl Schwartzel will tee off in the morning.

"I recognize that being five years in now. and five years doesn't make me a veteran, but it helps me realize kind of how things go", he said.

"It was a case of making hay while the sun shines so it was important to capitalise on the conditions".

SOUTHPORT, ENGLAND - JULY 20: Alex Noren of Sweden plays from a bunker during the first round of the 146th Open Championship at Royal Birkdale on July 20, 2017 in Southport, England.

"Birkdale nine years ago felt pretty good on Sunday afternoon and it felt just as good (yesterday)", said the 41-year-old, who did television commentary on the Open last year after being sidelined with a foot injury. "I played really solid".

"I managed to keep it simple", he added.

Handed the honour of hitting the first shot of the tournament, O'Meara sent his drive out of bounds before running up a quadruple-bogey eight and he ended up signing for an ugly round of 81.

After missing his par, Casey went on to drop another shot at the next hole when he skirted a short putt past the hole. McIlroy also shot 71 and was relieved. Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, B.C., opened at 1 over.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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