Spieth, Koepka, Kuchar lead American charge at British Open

Spieth, Koepka, Kuchar lead American charge at British Open”

Jordan Spieth extended his lead at the top of The Open 2017 leaderboard with a strong one-under-par 69 in wet and wild conditions at Royal Birkdale. He wasn't exactly excited about playing.

"It's a bit like Ryder Cup at Medinah in '12; we're 10-6 down on Saturday night, but we feel like we were right in with a chance because we won the last two points", he recalled about Europe's come-from-behind win the next day. Just last week at the Scottish Open, McIlroy said his attitude to golf and life in general had improved since getting married in April.

Matt Kuchar is second at four-under-par and Ian Poulter and Brooks Koepka sit at three-under. But after missing the cut at the Scottish and Irish Opens in the last two weeks, along with last month's U.S. Open where his first-round score was a six-over 78, this day was a positive one, especially the way it ended.

"Those thoughts ran through my mind, I was thinking, geez, here we go again, but I just needed to stay patient and stay with it", said McIlroy of his disastrous start. The Englishman sits in a tie for third place at 3-under after shooting an even par round on Friday.

Defending champion Henrik Stenson of Sweden stayed in contention with a 69 while world number one Dustin Johnson of the United States and four-times major victor Rory McIlroy battled to one-over 71s.

Kuchar was the only one at 65 who played in the afternoon.

A wind-assisted three-wood 372 yards down the first and a chip to six feet got him up and running and, after leaving a 15ft attempt short, he birdied from 10ft at the third to get under par for the first time in the tournament.

Spieth, victor of the Masters and U.S. Open in 2015, is brilliant with a wedge and a putter.

"Kooch is tough because he's so consistent", Spieth said.

The Texan began with a birdie and managed to get round the front nine in one over in the worst of the weather, where cross-winds were gusting up to 35-40mph.

It made a mockery of his pre-tournament rallying call on Wednesday, when he reacted to being told his odds for victory were 20-1 by saying: "It's a good week to back me".

Links golf, with the bounces and conditions, can be lucky golf. But Jack Nicklaus used to say the better golfers always seem to get the good bounces.

Although he made his fourth bogey of the second round at the next hole, Spieth was more than happy with his day's work. "It's going to happen", he said."You hate to give away shots". The back nine is playing really, really hard. Playing in the storm a year ago at Troon toughened him mentally. "We had a good time", Koepka said.

At the Open, it's all a matter of perspective.

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