It’s no secret that Americans have dominated the field when The Open Championship comes to the Royal Birkdale. Thursday’s action made it look like this weekend will give us more of the same.
Spieth and fellow Americans Brooks Koepka and Matt Kuchar all shot 5-under 65s to share the lead after 18 holes. A week shy of his 24th birthday, Spieth is after the third leg of the career Major “grand slam”. He finished fourth at The Open in 2015.
The 27-year-old Kopeka won the US Open last month and is seeking to become just the seventh man to win the US Open and Open Championship in the same year.
Kuchar has eight Top 10 finishes at Majors since 2010. His best performance at The Open was in 2012 when he finished tied for ninth. Kuchar did all his damage on the front nine, closing it out at 5-under with a 29. He hit 9 straight pars on the back nine.
Kopeka was at even par until a birdie on #8. He added three straight from 11-13, then bogeyed 16. He came back with a daring eagle 3 on No. 16 to reach 5-under.
Like Kuchar, Spieth never had a bogey on the round, going 3-under on the front nine and 2-under on the back.
England’s Paul Casey and South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel are a shot back at 4-under. Following them is a 6-way tie for third including recent Euro winner Rafa Cabrera Bello, Ian Poulter, and American Charley Hoffman.
In all, 39 players are at least 1 shot under par.
Notables at 2-under include: world #2 Hideki Matsuyama and Bubba Watson.
Notables at 1-under include: Mathew Fitzpatrick, defending champion Henrik Stenson, Jason Day, Adam Scott, Jon Rahm.
Other scores of note: Danny Willett (+1), Justin Rose (+1), Rickie Fowler (+1), Dustin Johnson (+1), Rory McIlroy (+1), Lee Westwood (+1), Martin Kaymer (+2), Padraig Harrington (+3), Sergio Garcia (+3), Phil Mickelson (+3), John Daly (+4).