• Spieth excited about Open duel with Kuchar

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    SOUTHPORT, United Kingdom: Jordan Spieth has been a team-mate of Matt Kuchar’s before and now he is looking forward to battling it out with his fellow American when they tee off together at the British Open on Saturday (Sunday in Manila).

    Spieth leads the Open on six under par after a one-under 69 on Friday — that sees him tied for the lowest ever 36-hole score in an Open at Birkdale, equaling Craig Stadler’s effort in 1983.

    The Texan is two shots clear of second-placed Kuchar—with whom he played on the United States’ Ryder Cup teams of 2014 and 2016—and the duo will therefore go out in the final pairing in the third round.

    US golfer Jordan Spieth watches his drive from the 6th tee during his second round on day two of the Open Golf Championship at Royal Birkdale golf course near Southport in north west England on Saturday. AFP PHOTO

    Kuchar, who warmed up for this week by finishing tied for fourth at the Scottish Open, goes into the weekend looking to win his first major.

    “I think he finished top five last week at the Scottish, right? So he’s in form on links golf,” said Spieth of his advPersary atop the leaderboard.

    “Kooch is tough because he’s so consistent. Kooch is tough because he’s not out on many holes. He’s not in tough position. He knows how to play his games. He knows his strengths. He knows his weaknesses, and he knows how to play away from them.”

    He added: “I enjoy playing with Kooch. He’s been in my pod both Ryder Cups. So we’ve played some rounds, preparing to be on teams together.”

    Spieth, looking to add the Claret Jug to his victories in the 2015 Masters and US Open, admitted he felt like just staying on the couch and watching the action on television when he heard of the grim weather forecast on Friday.

    He went out in the afternoon and, in pouring rain, promptly birdied the difficult par-four 1st hole.

    Dropped shots at the 3rd and 9th saw him lose his outright lead, and he produced some wayward golf at times on the back nine.

    But after saving par at the 10th by holing a chip from off the back of the green, he birdied 11 and 12 and even got an eagle at 15, in between two bogeys.

    He has got himself into position to properly contend for a major for the first time since a back-nine blowout cost him the 2016 Masters.

    “I feel great right now. I don’t think I even felt this way at the ‘15 Masters after Friday,” he said.

    “Anytime you’re in the last group on a weekend in the major you get nervous. And I’ll be feeling it this weekend a bit.

    “But I enjoy it, because as long as I approach it positively, and recognise that this is what you want to feel because you’re in a position you want to be in, then the easier it is to hit solid shots and to create solid rounds.

    AFP

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