Wednesday, 17 January, 2018

Matt Kuchar's 29 on front nine of British Open matches 1991 mark

John Rahm was not born when Seve Ballesteros played his way around Royal Birkdale in 1976 John Rahm was not born when Seve Ballesteros played his way around Royal Birkdale in 1976
Rita Gibson | 20 July, 2017, 22:41

It was the first eagle on the first hole at Royal Birkdale since stats first were recorded in 1983. He made par on the first seven holes but got hot with birdies on Nos.

The 2008 champion Padraig Harrington was due out at 9:36 a.m., just before the defending champion, Sweden's Henrik Stenson, who plays with American Jordan Spieth and South Korea's Kim Si-woo. He missed an 8-footer for birdie on the final hole but still carded his lowest score at an Open.

Spieth made a sharp birdie on the second hole, and that propelled him to a five under par 65 in the opening round of the third major championship of the year.

But after hitting just five of 14 fairways, Spieth knew there was room for improvement as he looks to add the Open title to his Masters and US Open victories in 2015.

"That was a really, really nice bunker shot", he said.

"This is unsafe", he said to his caddie. "The second shot landed in a location where I could pop it up and if it ended up going 15 feet past the hole then it was going to be a good shot".

"That was awesome", were his next words to his caddie.

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"But I couldn't have done much better today".

The British Open began Thursday morning with rain, wind and big numbers.

He hit another tee shot, this one into a bunker on the left.

Justin Thomas, an emerging American star and the current world number 13, also shot 67, his round including three birdies and an eagle at the 17th, which is one of just two par-5s on the Birkdale set-up. He wasn't all about making a fashion statement.

Hideki Matsuyama was among those at 68. He stuck to a planned trip to Las Vegas after winning his first major, and he spent two weeks out West. "But the short game feels really good and the long game feels good and it's nice to get back playing". He was itching to get back to competition, and after arriving last weekend at Royal Birkdale to learn the course, he proved to be a quick study. "And unfortunately one bogey on 16, just a bad putt", Koepka said.

Whether he and Spieth had the lead depended on the late starts, particularly Matt Kuchar, who made the turn at 5-under 29. And the way the majors have gone the last few years, maybe this is his time.

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