Published: Sun, July 23, 2017
Sports | By Grace Becker

Kuchar happy to put feet up and watch rivals scrap

Kuchar happy to put feet up and watch rivals scrap

Defending champion Henrik Stenson, who played with Spieth, had a 71.

Reminders cropped up Thursday on the first day of the British Open, when the leaderboard was populated with Americans Jordan Spieth and U.S. Open champ and Jupiter resident Brooks Koepka - who just put down the clubs for four and five weeks - and 39-year-old Matt Kuchar, now the highest-earning PGA Tour player without a major championship win.

Notable casualties included several former Open champions include 2010 victor Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa and the US' Phil Mickelson, who claimed the title in 2013.

The 20-year-old who plays under the Canadian flag was six shots behind at 5-under 205, tied with U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka, who had a 68.

Jordan Spieth enters Round 3 leading by two shots at 6-under.

The American said: "After my round I went to the range and hit a lot of drivers and hit a lot of good ones too". I've toyed with getting them onside but it's tricky, if the forecast doesn't change, they're actually going to be getting the worst of the weather so although I can see their prices shortening because everyone struggles in the morning, they may very soon struggle themselves, and there's always a chance one or two early starters do make a move. "I think anything around even par today is going to be a great score. My ball-striking has been better than in any years that I've ever played golf". "And if I win it has nothing to do with that, either".

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THE OPEN gets underway on Thursday at Royal Birkdale, but who will lift the Claret Jug this time? Tiger Woods had only won two by his 24th birthday. Englishman Paul Casey (pictured), who has been in such good form this year, is just one shot off the lead after a fine four-under 66.

Koepka has played almost as well as Spieth to this point in the tournament from tee to green.

Masters champion Sergio Garcia overcame a shoulder injury which had him fearing he would be unable to complete his second round, but the Spaniard lifted his spirits with a superb eagle-two at the sixth and birdies at 15 and 17 got him back to one over before he dropped his third shot of the day at the last. "Payne said, "Matt, stay in school". He's a amusing guy.

"The back nine is playing really, really hard. I'm very excited for tomorrow".

Grace laid down the early challenge Saturday, setting the stage in balmy conditions compared with the gales and deluge of Friday.

It was a case of damage limitation at times on the outward nine, with Spieth's long game not at its sharpest.

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"I don't know why, maybe I'm more in love with links golf than I was before". "He said: 'You're Rory McIlroy, what are you doing?'"

"To do it at the Open Championship is pretty special".

After bogeying the second, Kuchar looked in danger of dropping another at the third but responded with a superb chip from off the green to bag a birdie.

He found the green with an audacious drive on the par-four fifth but left his eagle putt agonizingly short.

The afternoon sun was being elbowed out of the way by a bank of deep purple clouds and an amber weather warning for thunderstorms was put in place. After the escape at 10, his first putt after the rain delay was dead centre of the hole from 25 feet at 11.

The shower was short-lived and so was Kuchar's pressing. Spieth was in thick rough to the right of the 16th fairway when his shot crept into the back of a pot bunker.

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And then a final twist on 18 after that pause to survey the scene. He hit 7-iron to 2 feet for another birdie, and followed that with a lovely pitch to tap-in range for par on the 13th.

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