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Spieth's solid Open start marred by shank

Jordan Spieth Jordan Spieth - The Canadian Press

HOYLAKE, England (AP) — Jordan Spieth has won or had good chances on the back nine in three of the last five British Opens, and yet he has come into Royal Liverpool without much attention.

His opening round Thursday was as strong as any, minus one bounce and one shank.

Spieth opened with a 69, a solid round marred by a double bogey on the par-5 eighth hole. He was in the high grass right of the fairway, the golf ball slightly above his feet, when he tried to open the face of an 8-iron for what he called a “flop cut.”

“I feel like I'm as good as anybody at that shot,” Spieth said.

Not this time. He hit a shank.

“I guess the hosel got there first. I'm not really sure,” he said.

He never found the ball, declared it lost and played his fourth shot from the same spot. This got to about 50 feet and he did well to two-putt for double bogey.

“That shakes you up a little bit. I’ve never hit one before, so it took me a couple holes to feel like I got my feet back under me."

On his next hole, Spieth tried so hard to make sure he didn't hit the ball with the hosel of his club that he hit it off the toe and into a bunker. He saved par and “I was fine after that.”

On the 18th, his drive took a hop into a pot bunker, and Spieth could only blast it out. He missed the green to his left on the par-5 closing hole and couldn't get up-and-down, making a bogey on the fifth-easiest hole for the day.

“I was very pleased with the round,” Spieth said. “I felt like my game has been in a really good place. I felt like the results haven’t necessarily been showing it, but came in not putting a whole lot of pressure on myself, just knowing that I like Opens.”


Justin Thomas has been in a bit of a slump most of the year, and it might have reached a low point in the British Open.

Thomas finished an already rough round with a tee shot out-of-bounds on the par-5 18th. His fourth shot went up against a lip in a pot bunker. He tried to play out to the left, but it went into the adjacent pot bunker. From there, he blasted out further left into the high grass.

It led to a 9 on the last hole. And it gave him an 82, his highest score in a major. His previous low mark was in his most recent major round, an 81 on Friday at the U.S. Open.

Thomas would appear certain to miss the cut barring a big turnaround, and that has big consequences.

He currently is No. 75 in the FedEx Cup and would miss the postseason unless he chooses to add the 3M Open next week in Minnesota or the Wyndham Championship after that.

And if he doesn't make the FedEx Cup playoffs, Thomas would have no more opportunities to play or earn Ryder Cup points. He is No. 13 in the Ryder Cup standings, and only the top six Americans automatically qualify. The cutoff is the second FedEx Cup playoff event.


Jon Rahm was a little shaken to learn his errant tee shot right of the 12th fairway hit a spectator on the right side of the head, drawing blood.

“On that hole it’s the place to miss, and I knew if you go towards that area you can get somewhat of a lie to where you can get close enough to the green,” Rahm said. “You never want to hit somebody. I think it hit him right on the eyebrow. He was OK. He told me he was a little dizzy, so hopefully there’s no concussion and it’s nothing too serious.”

As for the golf ball? Rahm said it was “secondary” to the man's health. But it was a problem. The ball ricocheted into a bunker and left the Spaniard no choice but to hit out backward.

“He did ask about the lie,” Rahm said. “I mean, it’s OK. Listen, it would have been a tie for break of the year if that went in the fairway. You can’t ask for that at that point. I just hoped he was OK. As soon as I walked off the tee, I heard him say, ‘Call the medics,’ and you don’t want to get too scared. You doesn’t want to see something bad happen."

Rahm wound up making bogey on his way to a 74.


It was exactly how Matthew Jordan envisaged, but it still blew him away.

The walk through the tunnel, meeting the starter, shaking hands with his playing partners and, best of all, the rousing ovation from spectators welcoming a local lad to hit the first tee shot at this British Open.

“It was crazy, mental, loud, everything that I could have wished for,” Jordan said of his round of 2-under 69 which he described as the best golfing experience of his life.

Jordan lives in Hoylake and has been a member at Royal Liverpool since he was a teenager. He made it through qualifying to get into his first British Open and was out at 6.35 a.m. to open the tournament’s 151st edition.

He’ll be among the later starters in the second round Friday and the spectators could be even more raucous.

“Well, people will probably have had a few more drinks, I think,” he said. “That’s one thing they couldn’t do is start drinking at 6:30 a.m. Well, maybe my dad was if he was nervous.”


Seungsu Han had a rough start to the British Open with a bogey, double bogey and triple bogey after four holes at Royal Liverpool.

Even tougher was the finish.

After being 6 over through four holes, Han made no bogeys and four birdies over the next 13 holes, some of the best golf played in the afternoon. He got his score back down to 2 over.

And then he hit his tee shot on the 18th out-of-bounds. He hit his next drive into a pot bunker and could only blast out. His fifth went left toward the bleachers.

He finished with a triple bogey. All that work, and he shot 77,


Tommy Fleetwood now has 11 rounds of 66 in the majors dating to 2017, tied for second on the list with Jordan Spieth. Brooks Koepka leads with 14 rounds at 66 or lower. ... Joaquin Niemann, who is not likely to have exempt status in the majors next year, opened with a 78. ... Max Homa was in a tie for seventh after his 68. That's his best position after any round of a major in his career.