Resilient Matt Kuchar makes statement of intent as winds blow at Open

Resilient Matt Kuchar makes statement of intent as winds blow at Open

Resilient Matt Kuchar makes statement of intent as winds blow at Open

Kuchar had taken the unusual route to the par 3 on goal, but now his ball needed to make a hard right - both for the good of Kuchar and the people outside the ropes.

Jordan Spieth is determined to avoid a repeat of his Masters meltdown previous year as he takes a three-shot lead into the final round of The 146th Open.

Jordan Spieth gives his reaction to Tim Barter after an impressive third round at Royal Birkdale.

The 2014 Open champion at Hoylake built on his strong finish to his opening round on Thursday, when he shot a one-over 71, to fire a 68 that put him safely in the clubhouse at one under par.

"I've had a five-shot lead in a major and squandered it before so I've had the height and the humbling", said Spieth.

It is only the third time that the 23-year-old has opened his major account with consecutive sub-70 rounds.

However, after a strong start to his round featuring three birdies in the first five holes, Rory McIlroy slipped out of contention - a double-bogey at 10 particularly damaging as the 2014 victor went round in 69.

As it happened, the so-called Golden Child never had to make a par putt of length. I do expect him to win but to do so he is going to have to not only drive it more accurately on Saturday and Sunday at Royal Birkdale, but he also has to exorcise some demons.

Kuchar's big lapses came on the 16th when he drove into a pot bunker, could only blast out to the fairway with a sand wedge, hit an indifferent shot to the green and then three-putted for double bogey. At no point during Friday's round did playing looked even remotely appealing to me.

Koepka, bidding for back-to-back major wins after landing his first at the US Open last month, made a quiet start with seven pars before getting under the card at the eighth, and he reeled off three straight birdies from the 11th before making his only mistake of the round at the 16th. McIlroy is nine behind Spieth at two under and has far too much to do.

Stenson noted, however, that what Spieth did from the 10th to the 12th holes wasn't all about putting. "I think probably a dozen times I've had at least a share of the lead in a major championship, you get nervous", said Spieth. "When your mind starts to get away from the spot where you're trying to hit the ball and into other situations, that can hurt you". And it just, one hop, scooted around the group of bunkers there, and then it was obviously fortunate to get all the way to the green and keep on going towards the green instead of over towards the left bunker.

"I saw Rory McIlroy make a few birdies early but it is hard when it raining to have full control of where the ball is going I knew it was going to get wet".

Spieth was at 6-under 134. "Stay loose, smile a lot and if I play like I did today, things will take care of themselves".

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

But yesterday leading British player Ian Poulter said the fans on the course were the real champions. "And I needed to - that's the disappointing thing".

"So in my situation, having been out there and posted a nice round, now I get to watch (which) is fun".

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