Published: Fri, July 21, 2017
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

Co-leader Kuchar underway in second round

Co-leader Kuchar underway in second round

Defending champion Henrik Stenson was happy with a solid 69, while McIlroy and Johnson (71) both have ground to make up early on Friday after both failed to break par.

Jordan Spieth of the United States reacts after his approach from the rough on the 5th hole during the first round of the 146th Open Championship at Royal Birkdale on July 20, 2017 in Southport, England.

With the wind expected to pick up throughout the day, a good start was vital and Kuchar's early draw could prove a real advantage.

One player in each of the first three groups also went out of bounds and the first eight groups were a combined 23 over par for the opening hole before Sweden's Alex Noren recorded the first birdie.

Spieth had a bogey-free round, and it required great bunker shots even by his standards to keep it that way. O'Meara's opening drive on the notoriously tough first hole at Royal Birkdale rode the wind into the gorse bushes on the right.

Then came Brooks Koepka, who hadn't played a single tournament round since he won the U.S. Open a month ago, matching Spieth's 65.

"I've always had high expectations on myself", Stenson said Tuesday. I just wanted to play golf. When Harrington won the last time the Open was played here, the winning score was 3-over-par 283.

With the final round of the 2017 Open Championship fast approaching, how much will this year's victor stand to pocket?

"It nearly looks like he has just come back from the pub", he said.

Kuchar, who's never won a major, was asked if he's buoyed by Henrik Stenson breaking through for the first time a year ago.

In the space of just one hole, Jordan Spieth showed the trouble he may face in the British Open and his unique way of turning it into his advantage. "I do feel like I play better in worse weather, but saying that, I really don't want to walk around in the rain tomorrow in 35 miles per hour wind". "If you kind of go up and down the centerline, given where the pin is, you're going to give yourself decent looks for birdie, but I'm not looking to be overly aggressive, either off the tee or into the greens this week".

The first player to receive the trophy was 1873 champion Tom Kidd, but Tom Morris Jr.'s name was the first to be engraved on it as the 1872 victor.

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