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Jordan Spieth, Brooks Koepka lead after British Open first round

23 Juillet 2017

It's part of his drive to emulate some of the qualities of Federer, who he watched from the Royal Box win his record eighth title at Wimbledon last week.

Americans Jordan Spieth, Brooks Koepka and Matt Kuchar tamed a fiendish course in tough conditions to fire sparkling first-round 65s and lead the British Open by one shot on Thursday. "For me, to start my British Open with a 29 on the front nine is a great way to start".

Koepka said he felt no extra pressure following his U.S. Open triumph at Erin Hills. "Everything was strong. I thought I'd give it a nine across the board for everything - tee balls, ball-striking, short game and putting".

"Today was brutal from shot one to shot 72".

Speaking ahead of teeing it up at Royal Birkdale - ten years on from his debut as an amateur at Carnoustie - the 28-year-old touched upon his expectations for the week before reeling off his list of achievements since his first appearance.

"I think, from our perspective, I don't really mind whether we're the third major or the fourth major", said Martin Slumbers, chief executive of the R&A, during a news conference Wednesday at Royal Birkdale, where the 146th Open begins Thursday. The golfing journeyman was a talented footballer and had trials with Manchester United in his youth, but never regretted his decision to play golf. Don't know why. Maybe I'm more in love with links golf than I was before. But sometimes you're out there and you're trying your hardest, and when you can't do it, it gets a little frustrating. "If you were to ask me in Carnoustie ten years ago, okay, you're going to be sitting in your press conference in ten years' time at Birkdale, what would you like to have achieved?"

Sure, he can be regarded as one of the best players never to win a major, but the run of seven consecutive majors with a first-time victor should give enough encouragement that his time can still come.

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"And then you've got guys like Henrik and Dustin, guys who are still young, but guys who have been around in contention many, many times, and it was sooner or later going to happen, and it did". His best finish at the British Open was a tie for ninth in 2012.

While he acknowledges much better scores will be possible, as illustrated by Stuart Manley claiming the early clubhouse lead with a 68, O'Meara feels anything under par will represent a fine effort. "So as I say, it's a good week to back me". "I don't think anybody would be", he added.

The performance of a fellow leader did catch his attention, however. "I'm not going to change".

"I feel great right now". Local player Tommy Fleetwood, who was considered among the favourites coming into the tournament, carded a 6-over 76 but paid testament to the support he received.

That included a mis-hit fairway wood on the 15th which got just a few feet off the ground, but ended up 15 feet from the hole to set up an eagle for the 2015 Masters and US Open champion. "I know there were people that will shoot five-under tomorrow - there's a long way to go".

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"To be in after two days and be under par for this championship after the way I started, I'm ecstatic with that", McIlroy said.

Jordan Spieth, Brooks Koepka lead after British Open first round