Johnson, Spieth favourites as British Open begins

Johnson, Spieth favourites as British Open begins

If the morning scoring is any indication, these conditions could produce some low scores this afternoon. Kuchar tied the course record with a 29 on the front nine, only to fall into a routine of pars the rest of the way.

He was one of three players to get round without a bogey and he was joined by Koepka, who was fresh after his US Open win last month.

"I give myself a B grade today".

It might have been a four-way tie had San Diego's Charley Hoffman been able to hang on to his stellar round.

Ian Poulter exploded into life on the first day and had placed himself right among it with an overnight score of three-under. As this impressive start was being chiselled out, he was already thinking ahead to Friday, when the majority of the field is expected to have both wind and rain to cope with.

Spieth raised some eyebrows a few days ago when he proclaimed that The Open was, in his opinion, the easiest major to win.

"What people enjoy about the British Open is watching the hard wind, the rain, the guys just trying to survive out there".

"I thought we did a really good job once that horn blew, and it could have been better timing where I could sit back and nearly play the last 8-holes as a new round". "It's close. I'm playing a lot of shots that are going into the first cut, which is going to happen a lot round here with the narrow fairways, and you need to play away from bunkers too which leads to some shots out of the rough". I managed to save the furniture with a play key on the back. "Any time you put something on the line like that, I get up for it".

And now he is contending in a major championship again.

Rory McIlroy tees off on the 15th at Royal Birkdale in the first round of the British Open.

McIlroy makes abysmal start at The Open
Earlier, Ernie Els rekindled memories of his two wins in the oldest tournament in golf with a superb two-under 68. I hit some quality shots out there, I saw a lot of better iron shots and I saw some really good putts going in.

After a handsome day that made for ideal scoring conditions, some weather is moving into the British Open.

"I didn't hit a great drive", he said.

Adam Scott looks Australia's best weekend hope after being satisfied with a 74 that left the former world No 1 seven behind Kuchar.

The performance of a fellow leader did catch his attention, however.

"Really good start. Everything was strong", Spieth said. Just like that, the going was good and numerous players got going.

The best Briton was Paul Casey, who had five birdies and dropped a solitary shot in a fine 66.

"It's just been the one thing that's been off this year. I know there were people that will shoot five-under tomorrow - there's a long way to go".

"Because you're like, 'I can't shoot those scores". The 2014 British Open victor started Thursday with a tailspin and ended with a club spin.

With winds of nearly 50km/h gusting through the course, Kuchar earlier mixed four bogeys with three birdies and hoped to kick back in his hotel and watch the afternoon carnage unfold. But most of the time there's at least a group that gets the worst weather.

Branden Grace has made major championship history. These are the four biggest tournaments of the year. "And then I got out here and Cameron [McCormick, Spieth's coach] offered me a piece of gum", he explained. "Getting back to the gym was tough, but if I'm mentally recharged then so is my swing". And I felt that out there today just because of the lack of self-belief.

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