Jordan Spieth fired a 65 to lead the Open 2017 on day one alongside fellow Americans Brooks Koepka and Matt Kuchar
Superb Spieth Shines On Day One Of The Open 2017
Jordan Spieth fired an early warning sign to his rivals by posting a faultless opening round of 65 at Royal Birkdale in The Open 2017.
The 23-year-old was in ominous form playing alongside current Open champion Henrik Stenson and Si Woo Kim.
After a steady start, the two-time Major champion caught fire with a birdie on eight, before picking up a further shot on nine to turn in 31.
It could have been even better for the 2015 Masters and US Open champion, who saw his eagle putt slide by on 17 and a ten footer for birdie stay up on the final hole.
The Englishman, who came through Open Qualifying to tee it up in Southport, showed signs of his old self in carding one of the lowest rounds of the morning starters.
And he was able to feed off his good memories at Birkdale where he finished runner-up to Padraig Harrington nine years ago.
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“My last round here in 2008 I shot a 69,” said Poulter. “I’m definitely playing with more confidence, I can hit more of the shots I’m visualising.
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“A couple of holes I may have played it too safe, but you have to avoid those fairway bunkers.”
US Open winner Brooks Koepka and fellow American Matt Kuchar also lead with Spieth at five under.
Kuchar played the front nine in five under before nine closing pars.
Meanwhile it wasn’t the day for Rory McIlroy, who faltered early.
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He was five over after six holes, and could have been seven over through eight had he not made two crucial par saves.
He rallied home on the back nine with two birdies to get back to three over at the time of writing with two holes to play.
World number one Dustin Johnson was solid, although after a good start he made two bogeys to drop to one over.
Englishman Paul Casey shot a flawless four under par 66 to trail the leaders by one.
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Southport’s own Tommy Fleetwood struggled to a six over 76, and Justin Rose came in with a one over 71.
World number 13 Justin Thomas, who was best dressed on Thursday, posted a three under 67.
Elsewhere, Welshman Stuart Manley carded a two-under par 68 to take the early lead, mastering the tough conditions as others succumbed on a brutal morning’s play in Southport.
With the early starters having to endure blustery conditions and rain, the task of registering a respectable score was made significantly harder.
Manley began his Open quest with a bogey – no disaster at Birkdale’s notoriously hard opener – but recovered to fire an impressive 68, which included a chip-in for eagle on the par-5 17th and a birdie at the testing final hole.
1st hole bares its teeth
They say you can’t win The Open on the first day, but you can certainly lose it. Former Open champion, Mark O’Meara, would not have been expecting to lift the Claret Jug again this week, but he would have been hoping for a solid start having been given the honour of hitting the opening shot of the 146th Open Championship. After slicing his drive over the fence and of of bounds, he racked up an eight and never steadied the ship.
The 60-year-old American wasn’t the only early morning starter to struggle as the wind and rain swept in, with the 1st hole causing the bulk of the damage. John Deere Classic winner, Bryson DeChambeau, took seven at the opening hole, as did amateur Maverick McNealy.