Kuchar claims share of British Open lead

23 Juillet, 2017, 08:03 | Author: Marie-Claire Cellier
  • Jordan Spieth has made an encouraging start at Royal Birkdale

Spieth's last start was a victory at the Travelers Championship.

Spieth was well rested and confident when he arrived at this charming seaside village after a three-week break following his second win of the season in the Travelers Championship.

Koepka considers himself the consummate gamer, though. But he hit back with four birdies on the way home, including at 17 and 18.

Spieth had spoken of the importance of being on the right side of the draw, but his resilience was underlined by a fantastic chip-in par-saver at the 10th, followed by two birdies immediately after the brief weather delay. "We seem to have grinded it out".

"I'm very happy with that. You just never expect to do that, but you take your opportunities when they come".

"I mean, people were falling away, and I found myself moving up through the board". He was looking at bogey or worse when he chipped in for par.

"That was only going to make it play harder than what it was playing this morning".

Koepka couldn't make any later inroads as the rain continued to fall leaving Spieth once more in pole position.

He wound up watching another short-game clinic from Spieth.

Another example: Spieth is a so-so 36th on the PGA Tour in strokes gained/putting. And just getting a feel for playing the different shots that you are required to play over here. Today the putter wasn't as hot, but that happens.

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A three-hole stretch starting at the 10th is what made his round on Friday.

Schwartzel was the clear victor of his threeball with McIlroy and world No 1 Dustin Johnson, the South African scrambling hard to get to the turn in level par before birdies at 10, 13, 17 and 18 hoisted him into contention. He then chipped in for par. And at the par-3 12th, he knocked his tee shot to a few feet.

A bogey came at 14 before the highlight of his day, an eagle at the par-5 15th.

"I actually mishit the shot which is why it looked so gross on the shot tracker". Certainly his putting has been on this week, and that's why he's in the lead for sure.

" ... I think experience plays a big role in dealing with conditions at an Open Championship".

Experienced American Phil Mickelson, the 2013 Open champion who lost an epic final-round duel with Stenson at Troon 12 months ago, is also among the late starters. And it was a huge part of the tournament for Spieth. But if you lose one in the wind or something like that, and it bounces awkwardly and you're a foot on the fairway or an inch on the fairway, you're out-of-bounds. I've done the same thing for years, " Koekpa said.

There are still two rounds to go.

Kuchar competed in the Wichita Open in 2006.

Young Canadian Austin Connelly was one stroke further back after a 72.

The four-time Major champion is the only Irishman left in the field that started out with 156 competitors and which was reduced to the leading 70 and ties, with the cut coming at five-over par. And it's tough not to like him now. "But it was nice to get over here early and just kind of get a feel for the golf course and play again".


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