Jordan Spieth and two other top Americans lead British Open

Jordan Spieth and two other top Americans lead British Open

Jordan Spieth and two other top Americans lead British Open

Matt Kuchar is second at four-under-par and Ian Poulter and Brooks Koepka sit at three-under. So the course played completely differently.

Koepka was at 3 under with two holes to play. "It was quite a trying, challenging day".

He's now broken par in seven straight major championship rounds and is acting like a guy who expected little else.

Spieth was consistently excellent, hitting all but three greens - and putting from off the green on one of those - and shooting a 31 and 34.

Defending Open champion Henrik Stenson is in the hunt after a one-under 69.

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The 41-year-old, who had to come through final qualifying to avoid missing a sixth major in succession, carded a three-under-par 67 to record his lowest ever opening round in a major at the 54th attempt.

"Jordan and Brooks are two of the best players in the world at the moment and I can't wait to do battle with them", said McIlroy, who needs to win the Masters to complete a career grand slam. "Today is my day".

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.

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

"I set myself a target of being in a better position today than I was yesterday".

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Pettersen, a club professional of 15 years at Birkdale, got a call at around 9.50 p.m. local time on Friday that he'd be the marker in the first group of the third round, alongside Shaun Norris of South Africa. "It would be great to be in a position of just being in contention on Sunday".

A three-putt bogey at 16 followed, before two closing pars to get into the clubhouse at six under after 36 holes.

He returned to action after the break with back-to-back birdies at the 11th and 12th and then sandwiched an eagle at the par-five 15th with two bogeys on an eventful back nine.

The shot would have been hard enough in flawless conditions. But it is for the first Open, and I would be lying if I didn't say I'm going to feel plenty of nerves as we start this weekend and throughout the weekend.

"I could have turned it into a better round than it was but it wasn't easy put there", said Fowler. So I'm playing about where my score stands I think. And it just doesn't seem like I'm fully ready to play.

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But some of Spieth's big-name rivals were left trailing, with Rory McIlroy and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson both one over par for their rounds.

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