Spieth, Koepka lead the way in opening round at British Open

Rufina Vignone
Luglio 20, 2017

The two-time major victor teed off his Open first round alongside reigning champion Henrik Stenson and Kim Si-woo, that trio having missed the earlier driving rain in Southport. "Everything was strong. I thought I give it a nine across the board for everything - tee balls, ball-striking, short game and putting. I know what is coming tomorrow, know even-par would be as good as or better than my score today if what is forecast gets here".

Spieth, the world number three and twice major champion, putted smoothly to move to four under after 14 holes and Koepka, who won the U.S. Open last month, birdied the 11th and 12th holes to join him atop the leaderboard. "It's just about keeping it consistent". "It's a major championship and under par is never a bad score". If you took hole by hole, I've been in a better position tee to green than I was that year.

World number one Dustin Johnson, four-times major champion Rory McIlroy and American Phil Mickelson, runner-up to Stenson previous year, were among the late starters.

Jason Day and, most recently, Dustin Johnson were hailed as the other half of a quartet to take golf to new ground, but Jimmy Walker, Sergio Garcia and Brooks Koepka have since taken the biggest prizes.

Nine years after finishing second to Padraig Harrington at Birkdale, Poulter had earlier made the ideal start in his bid to go one better at the same Southport venue. So I kind of understand, especially going into a day like tomorrow. "You just have to get it in play, just keep it out of those cross bunkers".

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.

"I thought today's round was extremely important, as they all are, but given the forecast coming in, I thought you really needed to be in the red today", added Spieth, who effectively saw his hopes go up in smoke in the second round a year ago at Troon. "I was pretty [hot] in 2015, and this year I'm not ..."

Wind and rain made life tough for those out earliest on Thursday and 1998 champion Mark O'Meara was among many to struggle, running up an eight at the first on his way to an 81.

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