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Open Championship

Spieth admits to nerves as he chases first Open win

Jordan Spieth

Jordan Spieth: taking a two-shot lead into today’s third round. (Photo: SNS Group)


Two-time Major winner Jordan Spieth will have to conquer his nerves as well as his rivals as he attempts to land his first Open Championship.

The American produced some excellent golf to take a two-shot lead into today’s third round at Royal Birkdale, the Texan carding a one-under-par 69 in tough conditions to sit at six-under-par at the half-way stage.

Fellow-Ryder Cup star Matt Kuchar is his nearest competitor on four under but with a host of top players in the chasing pack, Spieth knows the weekend test over the Southport links is going to be difficult.

The 23-year-old won the Masters and US Open in 2015 but despite those victories, he is bracing himself for a nervous two days on Merseyside.

“I’d give myself a B grade which is giving myself some credit,” he said. “I’m playing about where my score stands.

“I’ll try and straighten it out off the tee a bit and with the long clubs for the next couple of days.

“I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m going to feel plenty of nerves as we start this weekend and throughout the weekend but we’ll just be head down, to the game plan and believe in the form that we’ve been in.”

Spieth’s 69 was one of just eight under-par rounds, with Rory McIlroy joining that elite club with a 68 to propel himself back into contention.

Despite his troubles in Thursday’s opening round, the Northern Irishman is now just five shots off the lead.

He was a picture of happiness after his second round and said: “That was right up there.  To birdie three of the first six and give myself that little bit of a cushion to play with was nice.

“I made some key up-and-downs on the start of the back nine. To be in after two days and be under par for this championship after the way I started, I’m ecstatic with that.”

Richie Ramsay is another who can be pleased with his week’s work so far.

The Scot carded a level-par round of 70 to sit two-under for the tournament, one behind Ian Poulter and Brooks Koepka.

“It was some of the best golf I’ve played this year, maybe in a few years. Just ball-striking mainly, especially the irons, the irons were just exceptional.

“But I just love being out there, it was brilliant. It’s happened to me before, I’ve gone off kilter when I’ve gotten into contention and I just need to stick to my game plan.

“My mission statement is to be the best I can be and I did that very well. I wanted to compete with the best in the world in a Major. I feel like I’ve done that the first two days.”

The cut fell at five-over par and among those who will not be around for the weekend include Phil Mickelson, Padraig Harrington and Louis Oosthuizen as well as Scots Martin Laird, Russell Knox and Paul Lawrie.

LEADERBOARD

-6 Jordan Spieth.

-4 Matt Kuchar.

-3 Ian Poulter, Brooks Koepka.

-2 Richie Ramsay.

SELECTED OTHERS

Even Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Bubba Watson.

+2 Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia, Rickie Fowler.

+3 Jon Rahm, Paul Casey, Dustin Johnson, Adam Scott.

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