Unfazed Spieth takes two shot British Open lead

Ruben Hill
July 23, 2017

Weather is going to be a huge factor this week in Southport with more rain and wind in the forecast.

I guess it's not the "British" Open after all.

Jordan Spieth, who added a 69 to his opening round 65 and was at 6-under-134.

With his challengers coming and going, Spieth enjoys a three-shot advantage over US Open champion Brooks Koepka (72) and Ian Poulter, whose dogged even-par round of 70 has the Englishman dreaming of going one better than his second at Birkdale in 2008. Kuchar tied the course record with a 29 on the front nine, only to fall into a routine of pars the rest of the way. Koepka is no stranger to fast starts at The Open, styling a 4-under 68 in 2014 to sit T3 after day one (he would go on to finish T67). Spieth is the sole leader at a major for the first time since the third round of the Masters previous year, when he was runner-up to Danny Willett.

"So I feel good now". He continues to do it and you'll still see him do it.

Not to be overlooked was Rory McIlroy, who recovered from a horrific start Thursday to salvage a 71, and then kept right on rolling.

The world number four came home in 32 with three birdies in the last four holes and maintained that momentum on Friday, despite far tougher conditions which led to a short suspension in play in late afternoon. McIlroy also shot 71 and was relieved. His Open began with five bogeys across the first six holes on Thursday, but he settled in after a pep talk from his caddie - "What the f*** are you doing?" - on Thursday.

Second past year at Royal Troon, Mickelson bucked trends this time around as he ditched his driver for the week in favour of the very same three-wood that helped win him the title of Champion Golfer back in 2013.

Austin Connelly was the top Canadian after Thursdays play, sitting just two strokes back of the leaders with an opening round of 3 under. Today, McIlroy is stalled on four majors, has missed the cut in the Irish and Scottish Opens in successive weeks, and goes into action today uncertain of his form. The wind remained strong, though the course was manageable for everyone who stayed out of bunkers and deep grass and who holed putts. "And it turned around for me, thankfully", he said. “It looked like anything under par was going to be a good score.

"It's taken me a long time to get everything back to feeling where it was", Johnson said. I was lucky enough to get off to that great start but conditions got a little worse on the back nine. One, in particular, was the Eagle at the 17th Hole.

Even those odds - unusually long for McIlroy - looked way too short when the world No. 4 pulled his tee shot at the first, had a flier to the right of the green with his second shot, sent his chip shot through the green with his third, and two-putted for bogey.

Defending champion Henrik Stenson of Sweden and world number two Hideki Matsuyama of Japan were among a bunch of players on one under after 12 holes.

"I'm always more nervous playing in these four (major) tournaments than I am anything else", McIlroy said.

But his best shot was with his feet in the sand.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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