The British Open: Day One

The battle for the Claret Jug gets underway at a wet Royal Birkdale

Johnny Watterson Fri, Jul 21
 
LIVE: The British Open: Day One

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  • 07:47
    Hello, good morning and welcome to The Irish Times liveblog of the opening round at the 146th Open Championship! Shane Lowry, Padraig Harrington, defending champion Henrik Stenson, Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose and many more will all feature in this morning session with me, Ruaidhrí Croke, before Johnny Watterson takes over for messrs Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Sergio Garcia, Jon Rahm and the list just goes on. It's the biggest tournament of them all and all of the big stars are at Birkdale looking to get their hands on the claret jug. You can get involved by using the 'Contact Us' button at the top of the blog or you can get me on Twitter @Ruaidhri_Croke. If you're wondering about the fortunes of any particular player, get in touch and I'll endevour to fill you in!
  • 08:00

    For a full list of tee times you can go here: British Open tee times.


    Darren Clarke is the first of the Irish to get underway at 9.25 before Padraig Harrington tees it up alongside Pat Perez and Thomas Pieters 10 minutes later.


    Henrik Stenson, Si Woo Kim and Jordan Spieth are in the trio behind them at 9.47 as the real marquee groups of the morning get their championships started.


    Justin Rose, Louis Oosthuizen and Justin Thomas begin at 9.58, with world number two Hideki Matsuyama, US Open champion Brooks Koepka and local boy Tommy Fleetwood at 10.09.


    Then it's the turn of Shane Lowry at 10.20 alongside JB Holmes and James Hahn who got in as the first alternate after Brandt Snedeker was forced to withdraw with a wrist injury. Then, at 2.48 Rory McIlroy will begin his championship alongside Dustin Johnson and Charl Schwartzel as the 2014 champion looks to arrest his slump of two consecutive missed cuts.

  • 08:09

    It's fresh, to say the least, at the Southport course this morning. There are intermitent showers sweeping across the links and a healthy breeze is already causing havoc among the early starters.

    Mark O'Meara - who won the Open here in 1998 - had the honour of hitting the first tee shot at 6.36am this morning. Unfortunately, he enjoyed it so much that he decided to hit two after his first skittered out of bounds. From there he wound up with an eight and is now six over after five holes.

    Birkdale is well known for being tough and it's playing right up to that reputation this morning. The first 21 players have gone through the first hole in 18 over par! That's as tough an opener as you'll get anywhere.

    Last week's winner of the John Deere Classic, Bryson DeChambeau, followed his maiden win with a pull hook out of bounds on his very next competitive hole. From there's he's wound up with an ugly triple bogey seven. You win and then you do that just four days later. That's golf just reminding you you'll never get the better of it.

    So far we have three players setting the (very) early pace at -1. They are Danny Willett who has birdied the second, Byeong Hun An and 18-year-old Thai player Phachara Khongmatwai. He wasn't even born when O'Meara won here in 1998!

  • 08:14

    The good news is that the weather is due to get better as the day goes on with winds dropping slightly, the cloud cover clearing and that mysterious fiery orb making an appearance in the sky. That means the most ideal conditions should be around when Rory McIlroy gets underway at 2.48pm.

    Darren Clarke, Padraig Harrington and Shane Lowry will have to battle the elements somewhat in their opening rounds but the weather does seem to be clearing a little already with the wind dying slightly.

  • 08:19

    Almost two hours into the opening day's play we have our first birdie of the day at the first!  


    And it's come from Alex Noren after he boomed a huge tee shot down the fairway, arrowed an approach in to six feet past the pin and rolled the putt in.


    One of the toughest courses on the Open rota is already playing up to its reputation and will only continue to do so over the next four days. With tricky forecasts expected the whole way through you can expect a winning score of no more than a few under par and possibly even over par if things get really difficult. Harrington won at here in 2008 at +3, don't forget.

  • 08:24

    Stuart Manley - no relation to 'One Dart' Peter Manley for all you darts nuts out there - has rolled in a birdie to get to level par after six and just one behind Noren and Willett.  

    The pair are the only players at one under now after An dropped a shot at the fourth while Khongwatmai has spectacularly fallen out of the lead at the seventh. After a shank into the long rough, a hack into a deep bunker and three putts, he's wound up with a triple bogey seven to slip back to two over. It was a brief, but glorious dalliance with the lead at the Open Championship for the 18-year-old.

  • 08:25

    BREAKING NEWS

    The sun is out at Birkdale!

  • 08:27

    -1: Willett (3), Noren (1)

    E: Manley (6), Lehman (4), An (4), Horschel (3), Knox (1), Poulter (1)

    +1: Kjeldsen (3), Fitzpatrick (3), Stricker (2), Dufner (2), Grace (2)

  • 08:30
    We've reached the second hole on the opening day at this year's Open and Ian Poulter is already giving it the big fist pumps. He's rolled in a 25 footer there for birdie to get to -1. He finished second to Harrington here in 2008, remember. At 70/1 at the start of the week he was fantastic value, especially given his recent good form in Ireland and Scotland.
  • 08:40

    As we creep towards the first of the Irish contingent getting out onto the links, why not immerse yourself in the history of this country at the oldest championship of them all.

    Ireland's Open Championship: The top 10 moments

    Meanwhile, you can read Philip Reid's preview from Birkdale here:

    Irish contingent hoping to weather storm at unpredictable Open

  • 08:43
    It's turning into quite a nice morning at Birkdale now as the sun comes out and the stiff breeze dies off a little. The waterproofs are beginning to come off for a lot of players, including Jason Dufner. However, the American has opted to keep his wooly hat on with his polo shirt. He must have been listening to his mother when she told him that all of the heat escapes through your head.
  • 08:47
  • 08:51

    Bryson DeChambeau is not enjoying his first foray at the Open. After a treble bogey at the first he's bogeyed the second and the fourth and is now +5 after four holes and as good as out of the tournament already.

    As Jack Nicklaus used to say "you can't win the tournament on the first day, but you can certainly lose it."

  • 08:57

    -1: Willett (5), Noren (3), Poulter (3)

    E: Manley (8), Horschel (5), Knox (3), Marksaeng (2), Song (2)

    +1: Lehman (6), Fitzpatrick (5), Stricker (5), An (6), Dufner (4), Duval (2), Horsey (2), Fritelli (2), Lorenzo-vera (1), Howell III (1), Kapur (1)

  • 09:00

    Ian Poulter takes the lead!

    The Englishman who finished second here in 2008 has added a birdie at the fourth to the one he holed at the second and is the first man to -2.

  • 09:15
    After finding the bunker with his tee shot at the par three seventh, Willett looked to have recovered with a fantastic splash shot despite having one foot in and one foot out of the sand. However, he pulled his putt left and missed so that's a first bogey of the day for the 2016 US Masters champion and he slips back to level par, leaving Poulter (-2) and Noren (-1) as the only two players under par.
  • 09:16
  • 09:21

    "A par four on steroids," is what Wayne Riley just called the sixth hole and he's not wrong. It's 490 yards into the wind and doglegging left to right. It's just an absolute monster and will without doubt play as the hardest hole this week. In 2008 there were only six birdies over all four days on this hole!

    The group of Poulter, Noren and Knox have reached it. Poulter has pulled his tee shot left slightly into the first cut but should be okay from there. Meanwhile, Noren has avoided the devilish pot bunker on the left but has found the thick long rough on the far side of it. Knox, who has slipped to +1 after a bogey at the last, has found the bunker and that is dead. It's just a wedge out from there and probably still 200 yards plus to the green for his third.

  • 09:24

    The first of the Irish contingent at this year's championship - 2011 winner Darren Clarke - is on the first tee and ready to get his tournament underway.

    Padraig Harrington - winner here in 2008 - follows in 10 minutes while Shane Lowry - the only Irish player in the field this week yet to get his hands on the claret jug - will be off in just less than an hour.

  • 09:27
    Clarke cracks a driver down the first and he's away. He's playing alongside Gary Woodland and British amateur champion Harry Ellis.
  • 09:35

    The great story of Alfie Plant has got off to the perfect start at the first with a rare birdie. The amateur made it into the field this week by winning the European Amateur Championship and has brought a legion of fans to Birkdale this week. With accommodation scarce in Southport, 'Alfie's Army' have taken over the nearby Pontin's holiday camp. "It's the Open by day, Shirley Bassett tributes by night," as one supporter put it.

    The 25-year-old who plays off a handicap of +4.6, comes from Bexleyheath in Kent and is one of the many young players putting to bed the notion of golf as a sport for the upper classes. With a mother who works for the Royal Mail and a former cobbler as a father, Plant is very much a working class hero for the masses. Let's hope many more follow in his footsteps.

    As it is, he's second on his own after that birdie at the first. That's after Noren could only manage a bogey at the sixth.  

    Playing alongside him it was a magnificent par save from Poulter after finding a greenside bunker with his second. From there he could only bump his third shot up to green, leaving 20 feet for par but he's gone and holed it for par!

  • 09:38

    On tee, from Ireland, the 2007 and 2008 Open champion, Padraig Harrington!

    The Dubliner has cracked an iron down the first fairway. Alongside him, Perez has found the bunker on the left hand side while Pieters' ball nestles in the right rough.

  • 09:41

    We're getting into the real meat of the morning session now. Next on the first tee is defending champion Henrik Stenson, Players champion Si Woo Kim and two-time major champion Jordan Spieth. That's a lot of champions.

    Up at the par three seventh Poulter has hit a second wayward approach in a row and found a second bunker in two holes. It all depends on how his ball is lying in that little pot bunker on the left of the green. Meanwhile, Knox and Noren have both stuck gorgeous approaches in to 10 feet or so and have good looks at birdie.

  • 09:42

    -2: Poulter (6)

    -1: Plant (a) (2)

    E: Manley (12), Noren (6), Marksaeng (5), Song (5), Kapur (4), Henley (3), Uihlein (3), Levy (2), Lahiri (2), Clarke (1), Woodland (1), Ellis (a) (1)

  • 09:44

    As you can see there, Clarke, Woodland and Ellis have all navigated the first hole in par.

    After at the seventh Poulter is facing another 20 footer for par. That's after his tee shot lodged right up against the face of the pot bunker, forcing him to practically sit down on the edge in order to be able to play it. He did hole out from that distance for par at the last hole, remember. Can he do it again?

  • 09:46

    No he cannot. Poulter's putt slips past the left edge and he drops back to -1.

    That means he is now tied for the lead with European Amateur champion Alfie Plant who has parred the second to add to that birdie at the first.  

    Back at the first, the group of Stenson, Kim and Spieth have just arrived on the tee.

  • 09:52

    Two excellent shots from Harrington found him safely in the middle of the first green and, from there, he's two-putted for an opening par. The way the first hole has played so far, that's almost like picking up a shot on the field.

    Back on the tee Stenson has started his Open defence with a long iron down the fairway. If he can repeat even half of the heroics we saw at Troon last year then he knows what might happen. Spieth and Kim both find the first cut on the right, leaving good angles into the green.

  • 09:59

    A beautiful approach from Harrington at the second!

    He looked to push his approach a slight bit towards the little pot bunker but it managed to avoid it and kick in to 10 feet. That's for a birdie!

    It's also been a solid start for Clarke who has followed a par at the first with another at the second.

  • 10:03

    Stenson comes within milimetres of opening with a birdie at the first after two arrowed long iron shots. He'll be happy with a par there, though. As will his playing partners Spieth and Kim who have both navigated that hole in four.

    Back on the tee Justin Rose, Louis Oosthuizen and Justin Thomas - decked out in a full shirt, tie and cardigan ensemble, have got their tournaments underway.

  • 10:05

    -1: Poulter (8), Plant (a) (3)

    E: Manley (13), Noren (8), Knox (8), Kapur (5), Henley (5), Levy (4), Lahiri (3), Clarke (2), Woodland (2), Ellis (a) (2), Harrington (2), Stenson (1), Kim (1), Spieth (1)

  • 10:07

    As you can see there, Harrington's birdie putt at the second slipped past, leaving him to settle for a par. He might be a touch disappointed with that as he didn't take advantage of the good fortune he got with the kick down from the bank.

    Back on the tee Spieth could be in some trouble after hooking his tee shot left while Stenson and Kim have both found the fairway.

  • 10:12

    Justin Rose has got off to the perfect start at the first.

    After finding the first cut on the right with his tee shot, he fired a magnificent iron shot into the green, spinning it up pin high and 12 feet away. From there he's rolled it right into the heart and joins Plant and Poulter at -1. He's many people's favourite this week and if he keeps going like that he'll be right up there.

  • 10:16
    Well, after that tee shot into the hay at the second, Spieth has not just saved par, but gone one better and made birdie! After gouging his second up towards the green his ball bounced and skipped onto the putting surface, feeding around to 15 feet past the pin. From there he's rolled a left-to-right putt right into the centre of the hole for a birde and a share of the lead with Plant, Poulter and Rose at -1.
  • 10:18

    Poulter takes the lead at -2!

    The Englishman, full of confidence at the moment, has rolled in a birdie putt down the hill at the ninth to get back to -2.

    Back on the first tee, Shane Lowry is about to get his championship underway!

  • 10:24

    It's another solid par for Harrington at the third. That's a good start for the two-time champion and he'll be more than pleased with that.

    Over at the sixth Russell Henley has joined the group at -1 with a birdie to sit alongside Plant, Spieth and Rose, one behind Poulter. He's been joined at that mark by Hideki Matsuyama who has birdied the first.

    The conditions are easing more and more as the day goes on and the scores are beginning to get better now. Suddenly we have six players under par just 20 minutes or so after there were just two.

    -2: Poulter (9)

    -1: Henley (6), Plant (a) (4), Spieth (2), Rose (1), Matsuyama (1)

    E: Jaidee (13), Lehman (12), Fitzpatrick (10), Noren (9), Levy (5), Lahiri (5), Clarke (4), Woodland (3), Harrington (3), Stenson (2), Kim (2), Oosthuizen (1), Thomas (1), Koepka (1), Fleetwood (1)

  • 10:25
  • 10:29

    The shirt, tie and cardigan-bedecked Thomas has now joined the group at -1 after a birdie on the second thanks to a super approach in to five feet.

    India's Anirban Lahiri has made that group seven-strong with a birdie at the sixth and, after a gorgeous approach from 168 yards at the third, Spieth only has six feet or so to join Poulter at -2.

  • 10:35

    Well, there's a surprise. Spieth's birdie putt at the third shaves the right edge and stays out to leave him at -1.

    Alongside him, defending champion Henrik Stenson makes it a third par in a row to start.

    Alongside him at level par are both Harrington and Clarke who have also made pars at each of their first four holes.

  • 10:37

    Shane Lowry birdies the first!

    The Offalyman joins the group at -1 with a lovely birdie at the first hole. The perfect start there for Lowry.

    -2: Poulter (10)

    -1 Henley (7), Lahiri (5), Plant (a) (5), Spieth (3), Rose (2), Thomas (2), Matsuyama (1), Lowry (1)

    E: Lehman (12), Fitzpatrick (11), Noren (10), Clarke (4), Harrington (4), Stenson (3), Kim (3), Oosthuizen (2), Koepka (2), Fleetwood (2), Holmes (1), Hahn (1)

  • 10:47

    Justin Rose moves to -2!

    The Englishman rattles in his short birdie putt at the third after another superb approach shot.

    The back nine is very much the scoring nine at Birkdale, it must be remembered. There are only two par fives on the par 70 and both come in the last four holes at the 15th and 17th.

    Over at the fifth another birdie putt slips past the edge for Harrington. That's two good chances he's given himself but not taken. Most importantly, though, he's giving himself the chances and if they start dropping he'll shoot up the leaderboard.

  • 10:52

    All of a sudden two players drop out of that group at -1 and, unfortunately, one of them is Lowry.

    After finding a pot bunker at the second with his approach he couldn't manage to even get his third short out of it, due to the fact that he had one foot in and one foot out. However, he has done well to regain his composure and get up and down at the second attempt to limit the damage to a bogey and he slips back to level par.

  • 10:58

    We have our first eagle of this year's championship!

    Over at the 17th Stuart Manley has holed out from the bunker for a three and he joins the group at -1.

  • 11:01
    After three good approaches to the fifth green for the group of Stenson, Spieth and Kim, only the defending champion coould make his birdie. He adds that to four pars so far and becomes the seventh player at -1.
  • 11:12

    Harrington is well on board the par train, but there's nothing wrong with that becuase it has him just two shots off the lead.

    He's made a three at the par four sixth to remain at level par, while Shane Lowry is also at that mark after a par at the third.

    Meanwhile, Darren Clarke is back to +3 after three bogeys in a row at the fifth, sixth and seventh.

  • 11:14
  • 11:16

    A look at Justin Thomas's outfit for you all there.

    And we have a clubhouse leader!

    After that eagle at the 17th, Manley followed it up with a raker for birdie at the 18th and he's posted a 68 for -2!

    Alongside him at that mark are Poulter and Rose.

    Rose is looking in really hot form so far and all of the talk of him reigniting his 1998 Birkdale wizardry could well become reality.

  • 11:20

    Just as I say that, Rose blocks his tee shot waaaaay right at the par four sixth. That's nestled down in some of the heaviest rough you've ever seen.

    That stuff is seriously penal, just ask Henrik Stenson. The defending champion has slipped back to level par after finding the long grass with his second shot at the sixth and has actually done well in the end to limit the damage to a bogey and slip back to level par.

  • 11:23

    -2: Manley (F:68), Poulter (13), Rose (5)

    -1: Fitzpatrick (14), Noren (13), Henley (9), Spieth (6), Thomas (5), Norris (3), Chang (2)

    E: Stricker (14), Plant (a) (8), Stenson (6), Kim (6), Koepka (5), Matsuyama (5), Hahn (4), Lowry (4), Bland (3), Cianchetti (3), Foster (2), Finau (2), Pavon (2), Dean (1), Streb (1)

  • 11:24
    As you can see there, Harrington has dropped out of that group at level par after a bogey at the par three seventh. He's back to one over and still waiting for one of those birdie chances to drop.
  • 11:28
    That wayward drive of Rose at the sixth was in fact so wayward that he had to take an unplayable. After dropping in the heavy rough he's muscled a magnificent three wood up to the green, leaving 50 feet or so for par. If he can two-putt and get out of there with a bogey he'll be more than happy after that skewed drive.
  • 11:34

    Fun fact about the clubhouse leader Stuart Manley: He had trials for Manchester United, Crystal Palace and Luton before otping to play professional golf instead. Some people just have it all.

    Over at the sixth Rose has managed to get down in two to limit the damage to a bogey and slip back to -1. That leaves just Manley and Poulter tied for the lead at -2.

    Meanwhile, at the seventh, Stenson has got his dropped shot at the sixth straight back to join the group at -1.

    Lowry remains at level par through five, while Harrington is +1 after that bogey at the seventh. Up at the ninth, Clarke remains +3 after making a par at the eighth to end that run of bogeys.

  • 11:43

    Spieth and Stenson both have good chances to join the lead at -2 at the eighth after excellent approaches. Stenson opted to go with an iron off the tee, leaving a long approach into the green but that didn't matter as he stuffed it in to 15 feet.  


    A full 74 yards further forward after taking driver off the tee, Spieth only had a wedge and played a beautiful low spinner in to six feet.

  • 11:50

    -2: Manley (F:68), Poulter (14), Spieth (8)

    -1: Fitzpatrick (15), Noren (14), Henley (11), Plant (a) (10), Stenson (8), Rose (7), Thomas (7), Finau (3)

    Irish: E Lowry (5), +1 Harrington (8)

    If you're wondering about the fortunes of any particular player you can get in touch by using the 'Contact Us' button at the top of the blog and I'll fill you in.

  • 11:51

    As you can see there, Jordan Spieth has joined the lead. Ominous.

    His short birdie putt at the eighth was never anywhere but the heart of the hole and he joins Poulter and Manley at -2.

    Stenson's effort slid right at the very last and he has to settle for par to remain -1.

  • 11:55

    A par for Harrington at the ninth means he's negotiated the front nine in 34 shots, +1. He's let some good birdie chances slip past but there's nothing wrong with +1 at this stage. It's tough out there and he's only three off the lead.

    One ahead of Harrington is Lowry who has gone through the tough par four sixth in four strokes to remain level par.

  • 11:58
    A birdie for Justin Rose at the eighth moves him back into a tie for the lead, meaning four players are now at -2. That's a great response after that bogey at the sixth.
  • 11:58
    BL Looking for an update on Soren Kjeldsen, any joy?
  • 12:00
    Kjeldsen began this morning in the toughest of conditions with driving rain and wind to greet him on the first tee. After a tough opening nine holes which saw him out in 37 (+3), he's made the most of the easier conditions on the back nine to birdie the 11th, 14th and 17th with just one bogey in between on the 16th and he's going up the 18th now at one over for the tournament.
  • 12:01
    harrington hows he doing?
  • 12:02
    As said a few minutes ago, he's gone through the front nine in 35 shots (+1) after eight pars and a single bogey at the par three seventh. He had good birdie chances at the second and fourth but both slipped past. He's still well in this at one over, however as the breeze is beginning to stiffen once again.
  • 12:04

    Jordan Spieth takes the lead on his own!

    The American has followed his birdie at the eighth with another close approach at the ninth and a successful putt. That's a front nine of 31 for the 23-year-old and he leads at -3!

  • 12:04
    BL Good stuff Ruaidhrí, great blog!
  • 12:08

    Thanks, hopefully Kjeldsen can get it home safe for a 71. That would be an excellent round considering the atrocious conditions he started in.

    -3: Spieth (9)

    -2: Manley (F:68), Poulter (15), Rose (8)

    -1: Fitzpatrick (17), Noren (15), Henley (13), Levy (12), Plant (a) (11), Stenson (9), Thomas (8), Finau (4)

    Irish: E Lowry (6), +1 Harrington (9)

  • 12:12
    Tim Any word on Stricker? Thanks Ruaidhrí.
  • 12:14
    Stricker is playing alongside Kjeldsen and has had a very similar round. After grinding hard to get around the front nine in two over par, he got the two shots straight back early in the back nine with birdies at the 10th and 13th. A bogey at the 16th saw him slip back to one over but he's also birdied the 17th and is now level par coming up the last. Yet another seriously impressive performance from the 50-year-old at a major championship.
  • 12:14
    EM Macked Kuchar& Cabrero Bello - what you think? Bookies going 1/5 odds on first 7 a bit stingy, comments anyone?
  • 12:16
    Paddy Power were offering eight places before play started. Kuchar tees off in just less than 90 minutes, while Cabrera-Bello is out at 3.21. With Kuchar being the top 10 specialist and Cabrera-Bello the winner of the Scottish Open last week, there are much worse picks to stick a few quid on.
  • 12:18

    Spieth has just shown a moment of absolute wizardry over at the 10th.

    After hooking his approach shot way left, over the gallery and down into a hollow, he's flopped a beautiful pitch up to kick in distance. If it was matchplay I'd give him that one for par.

  • 12:23
  • 12:25

    Seve-esque stuff from Spieth there. Birkdale is, of course, where Seve announced himself on the world stage as a 19-year-old in 1976 when he pushed Johnny Miller all the way in the final round.

    At the 10th Rose found a pot bunker with his tee shot and could only splash out onto the fairway. He'll now face 130 yards or so to get up and down to save par.

    Stricker and Kjeldsen both did manage to par the 18th and are in the clubhouse at level par and +1 respectively.

  • 12:28

    Unfortunately it's all gone wrong for Harrington at the par four 11th.

    A double bogey six there has seen him slip back to +3 and now six shots off the lead. Those early missed birdie chances could well come back to haunt him. You have to take them if you get them around here because there's danger lurking at every corner, as he's just found out.

    Lowry is continuing on the consistent par train with a three at the seventh and a four at the ninth to keep him at level par.

    Irish leaderboard: E Lowry (8), +3 Harrington (11), +4 Clarke (12)

  • 12:30
    It's been a very successful first round for Matt Fitzpatrick after he also got caught in some of the worst of conditions this morning. After two bogeys in his opening six holes he pulled it back with birdies at the eighth, 10th, 14th and 17th, with just one bogey at the 16th to post a round of 69 and -1.
  • 12:33

    At the 10th, Rose couldn't get up and down from a long way back after finding the bunker with his tee shot and he slips back to -1.

    Taking his place at -2 is Noren who has taken advantage of the par five 17th to card a birdie four.

  • 12:36

    Ian Poulter joins the lead at -3!

    Alongside Noren at the 17th, Poulter found a greenside bunker in two but splashed a lovely sand shot to a foot and tapped in for birdie to join Spieth at the top of the leaderboard.

    -3: Poulter (17), Spieth (10)

    -2: Manley (F:68), Noren (17)

    -1: Fitzpatrick (F:69), Grace (17), Stenson (10), Rose (10), Thomas (10), Koepka (9), Matsuyama (9), Hahan (8), Lowry (9), Streb (5), Connelly (1)

    Irish leaderboard: -1 Lowry (9), +3 Harrington (12), +4 Clarke (12)

  • 12:37

    As you can see there, Lowry has moved within two of the lead!

    He's been going along nice and steady so far with a single birdie at the first and a bogey at the second. He's just added to that with another birdie at the ninth to go out in 33 and move to -1.

  • 12:49

    Poulter takes the lead in the clubhouse!

    After finding the greenside bunker with his approach at the 18th the Englishman flipped another lovely bunker shot to six feet and rolled in the putt for a par, a 67 and the round of the day at -3.

    Alongside him Noren also navigated his up and down from the bunker to card a 68 and join Manley in the clubhouse at -2.

  • 12:52

    -3: Poulter (F:67), Spieth (12)

    -2: Manley (F:68), Noren (F:68), Henley (15)

    -1: Fitzpatrick (F:69), Levy (15), Stenson (12), Kim (12), Rose (11), Thomas (11), Koepka (10), Matsuyama (10), Hahn (9), Lowry (9), Lovemark (4), Connelly (2)

    Irish leaderboard: -1 Lowry (9), +3 Harrington (13), +6 Clarke (14)

  • 12:59

    After that birdie at the ninth, Lowry has given it straight back at the 10th, just as he did at the second after opening with a birdie. That means he slips back to level par.

    Three further back is Harrington through 13, while Clarke is +6 after 14.  

  • 13:05

    After finding the long rough with his drive at the 13th, Spieth got a fortunate drop because a spectator had picked it up. From there he slashed an excellent nine-iron to the back of the green and has two-putted for a solid par to remain at -3.

    Back at the first tee Zach Johnson, Jason Day and Sergio Garcia have just got underway.

  • 13:09

    Brooks Koepka joins the lead!

    The US Open champion has birdied the eighth, 11th and 12th to add to nine pars and is now tied for the lead with Poulter and Spieth. Could he possibly make it two majors in a row?

  • 13:13
  • 13:14
    Two days ago James Hahn didn't think he'd be playing in the Open this year. But then yesterday Brandt Snedeker withdrew with a wrist injury and first alternate Hahn got in. He's making the most of it so far as well, picking up another birdie at the 11th to get to -2 alongside Noren and Manley.
  • 13:15
    Just a reminder that if you're wondering about the fortunes of any particular player just us the 'Contact us' button at the top of the blog and I'll give you all of the info!
  • 13:20

    Jordan Spieth takes the lead on his own!

    Well this is ominous. Very ominous. Spieth looks to have got the pace of these greens dialled right in. At the par three 14th he sent his tee shot into the heart of the green and has rolled the long birdie putt right into the heart from there. He's -4 and leading on his own.

    -4: Spieth (14)

    -3: Poulter (F:67), Koepka (12)

    -2: Manley (F:68), Noren (F:68), Hahn (11)

    -1: Fitzpatrick (F:69), Henley (17), Levy (16), Rose (13), Thomas (13), Matsuyama (12), Lovemark (5), Connelly (5), Els (2), Baddeley (1)

    Irish leaderboard: E Lowry (11), +3 Harrington (15), +6 Clarke (15)

  • 13:23
    Plus 44 Levy & Rahm?
  • 13:24

    Levy is -1 through 16 holes thanks to birdies at the 10th, 11th and 15th to make up for bogeys at the 6th and 13th.

    Rahm doesn't tee off until 2.59 alonside Patrick Reed and Lee Westwood.

  • 13:28

    Brooks Koepka joins Spieth in the lead!

    Well, well, the cream is rising to the top already at Birkdale. Koepka has hit a serious run of form around the turn and just picked up his fourth birdie in five holes to get to -4 and join Spieth at the top of the board.

  • 13:32

    Rickie Fowler, Adam Scott and Paul Casey have just got their Open campaigns underway at the first. We're getting into the real meat of the afternoon players now. Still an hour and 20 minutes or so until Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson take to the course.

    Over at the 14th it's taken Rose two to get out of a greenside bunker after an awkward stance for his first. However, he does well to hole out from 10 feet to limit the damage to a five and slip back to level par.

  • 13:36

    A good birdie chance goes begging for Spieth at the par five 15th. After finding a greenside bunker with his second he left too much to do for birdie with his putt just sliding by the left edge. He remains -4 and tied for thr lead with Koepka.

    Over at the 12th Lowry has just made a par to remain level and still in a good position with two par fives to come in his closing six holes. Meanwhile, Harrington failed to take advantage of the first of those par fives  - the 15th - having to settle for a par like Spieth. The day hasn't gone as the Dubliner would have liked so far as he continues to search for a first birdie of the day.

  • 13:38
    Paul Is the wind going to get up the weekend? carnoustiesque?
  • 13:39

    Tomorrow it's due to get right up for the whole day, possibly dying a little as the afternoon goes on but there shouldn't be too much difference in scoring conditions between the morning and afternoon starters. It looks like it's going to be tough for everyone tomorrow.

    As for the weekend, the forecast so far is for a healthy links breeze, making conditions difficult but not as trecherous as we've seen at previous Opens. The rain is due to come on Sunday however with severe downpours forecast between 7am and 1pm.

  • 13:43

    Koepka makes a huge par save at the 14th!

    After a wayward tee shot at the par three he bumped a pitch up to 20 feet or so but has rattled his par putt right into the back of the hole to get out of there with a par and remain tied for the lead at -4.

    And he may lead on his own soon after Spieth's tee shot at the 16th found the heavy rough. It didn't look to bounce up and he could be in big trouble there.

  • 13:47

    Trouble at the 13th for Lowry.

    He's made a bogey there at the par four and slips back to +1. Up ahead, Harrington parred the 16th and is going up his penultimate hole at +3.

  • 13:59

    Spieth is just refusing to drop a shot today.

    After that wayward tee shot at the 16th, he managed to hack out, get his next shot up to 12 feet and roll in the par putt to remain at -4. That is a massive save and he now goes to the downwind par five 17th looking for birdie or possibly even a eagle.

    Over at the 14th the last man into the field, James Hahn, has found another birdie and joins Poulter at -3.

  • 14:05

    Well Charley Hoffman has just had the best start you could possibly ask for!

    After pushing his drive right at the first where it stopped only a yard or two short of the out of bounds he's slashed a long iron up towards the green where it bumps on bounces up towards the pin ... and drops! That's an eagle two for the American to start the day!

    Harrington has failed to birdie the par five 17th and goes up the last still at +3 and without a birdie for the day.  

  • 14:08

    -4: Spieth (16), Koepka (15)

    -3: Poulter (F:67), Hahn (14)

    -2: Manley (F:68), Noren (F:68), Matsuyama (15), Els (5), Baddeley (5), Hoffman (1)

    -1: Fitzpatrick (F:69), Pieters (17), Stenson 916), Kim (16), Thomas (15), Tree (9), Lovemark (90, Harman (6), Day (4), Sullivan (3), Lipsky (3), Casey (2), Kuchar (2)

    Irish leaderboard: +1 Lowry (14), +3 Harrington (17), +5 Clarke (F:75)

  • 14:08
  • 14:10

    Spieth takes the lead on his own once again!

    After hitting his second shot up greenside at the 17th Spieth safely navigates his up and down to tap in for a birdie and get to -5.

  • 14:13
    It's been a pretty disastrous back nine for Justin Rose. After skipping through his first nine holes in 32 shots (-2), he's bogeyed the 10th, 14th and 16th to slip back to one over par and now six shots behind Spieth.
  • 14:21

    Jordan Spieth leads by two!

    Koepka fails to save his par after a good pitch at the 16th and he slips back to -3 alongside Poulter.

    Up ahead at the 18th Harrington has tapped in for par, a 73 and a disappointing birdie-less round. However, he's not out of this. A good round tomorrow if the putts start dropping and he'll be in with a sniff come the weekend.

    Lowry, meanwhile, has struggled to maintain any momentum today after immediately giving back both of the birdies he's made. He's +1 and coming up the 16th.

  • 14:22

    What a shot from Spieth!

    After a stunning drive at the last he's fired his approach in to eight feet. That's for an opening 64!

  • 14:25

    Justin Thomas moves to -3!

    After a massive drive, nothing more than a seven iron in to 10 feet and a perfect putt the American cuts the 17th down to just three shots and joins Poulter and Koepka at -3 in a tie for second.

  • 14:29

    Spieth's birdie putt slides left and misses!

    That's a bit of a disappointing finish as that was as good a birdie chance as he could ask for there at the last but, no matter. Spieth sets the target at -5 thanks to a 65.

  • 14:39

    Brooks Koepka ties Jordan Spieth for the lead!

    The US Open champion has just holed out from the greenside bunker at the par five 17th for an eagle three to get to -5 and he joins Spieth.

    Up at the 18th Rose has finished with a par for a back nine of 39 and a round of 71 (+1). That's seriously disappointing after he eased through the front nine in -2.

    Alongside him, Justin Thomas has closed with a par for a round of 67 and -3.

  • 14:40

    It's all gone wrong for Lowry at the 16th and his miserable back nine has been compounded.  

    A double bogey six there sees him drop back to three over par.

  • 14:47

    So, Jordan Spieth and Brooks Koepka are your leaders halfway through this first round with Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson due on the tea in less than five minutes.

    For that I will pass you over to the capable hands of Johnny Watterson for the rest of the day.

    Bye!

  • 14:52
    Good afternoon and welcome. Just in time to see Rory take an iron from the first tee and pull it right. He's up on the hill but the ball is visible. He's playing with the beareded Dustin Johnston. Another iron. Rough right.
    Schwartzel is the rhird of the group and he's also hitting an iron and he's up with Rory.
    None of them in too much trouble. This is a good group to watcgh.
  • 14:57
    Koepka, winner of this year's US Open, brings his round to a happy ending on -5 for a 65. He's joint leader with Spieth.
    Rory hits 179 yards from the wispy grass and nobody knows where it is. But there are a few people rushing off to the right. That can't be good for his first approach.
  • 14:58

    Quick update for all the favs-

    LEADERBOARD

  • 15:03

    Lowry +2 thro 17 holes

    Harrington +3 finished

    Clarke +5 finished

     

  • 15:06

    Almost disaster for Rory. His third shot is short and his fourth rolls up the slope at the side of the green and falls back down. His fifth from off the green rolls and rolls and rolls... in.

    It's a five that feels like a 3 to McIlroy

    Schwartzel sinks a long one for birdie on the first

  • 15:09

    Rory drills a drive and splits the fairway on two. His ball may have come to rest on a slight down slope but it's all calm after that first hole.

    Meanwhile Kuchar sinks a long putt. He's -4 after six holes.

    Phil Mickelson is on the first tee.

  • 15:09
  • 15:12
    Lefty gets a big cheer as he steps up and his first blow is a good one down the middle. F Molinari hits right but okay and Marc Leishman with a nice easy swing finds himself up where Rory was on the first hole.
  • 15:15

    Rory hits the heart of the second and leaves him self 15 feet for birdie. DJ goes one better and pitches to four feet with his 9-iron.

    On seven, Fowler moves to 1 under. Again. He's four behind the leaders.

  • 15:16

    Stenson -1

    "I'm pretty happy with the day's work. I could have got one or two more but pretty solid overall." He never gets too over excited, does he?

  • 15:18
    Good efforts from Rory but it skims past the second hole. It's a tap in for par.
  • 15:20
    Speith ranks Michael Phelps as one of his close friends. Phelps won five gold medals in Rio to accumulate 23 Olympic Gold medals. He says Phelps is a good friend "I can call anytime." No SOS call today as remains joint leader with Koepka at -5.
  • 15:22
  • 15:23
    Rory on the third hits out right with an iron. It's in the rough okay but from a distance does not look too punitive. Schwartzel, shorter than his partners, is middle of the fairway and DJ in a bunker.
  • 15:25
    Richard Bland goes birdie, birdie, birdie on 16, 17 and 18 to finish with a 67. Not so, well, bland at all.
  • 15:27
    Lowry has played his 18 holes and sits best of the Irish on +2. That's seven shots of the lead. The Offaly man has had a mixed bag of 3 birdies, 3 bogeys and a double on the 16th to open with a 72.
  • 15:30

    Rory misses the green left and then knocks it up with a so, so shot leaving himself a tricky putt for par on the third. That's his second poor effort from just off the green in the opening three holes.

    DJ misses left too but his putt from off the green is to three feet.

  • 15:31
  • 15:33
    Rory cannot retrieve the poor third and misses his putt for bogey. His start is depressingly familiar. Bogey, par, bogey.
  • 15:36

    Bruce Koepka -

    "Short game feels very good. Great to get back playing," he says in his first competitive round after winning the US Open, which happens to have him as joint leader with Speith at -5.

    "I see so many shots out here that are fun," he adds saying golf can get boring.

  • 15:40

    4th - Par 3

    Rory hits the sand trap. He does a few after swishes on the tee that makes you think he's no so happy with his start.

  • 15:41
  • 15:45

    DJ rolls a long putt from just off the green. It comes to rest 12 inches from the cup drawing a light ripple of applause.

    Rory splashes out to 9 feet. Another putt he doesn't want for par. He hits it and it rolls past on the left. That's three bogeys in the opening four holes and he's lucky to be in that position. What's going on?

  • 15:47
    Kuchar throws up a wedge to about three feet. He's the moving player of the afternoon at -4 thro eight holes. He could go joint leader with Koepka and Spieth in the next few minutes
  • 15:48
  • 15:54
    Kuchar turns in 29 to share the lead with Spieth and Koepka.
  • 15:55
  • 16:07

    Rory is fast falling down the plug hole. A three footer   slips past on the fifth hole putting him at +4 after five holes. If you believe in the man you can now get him at 66-1

    He started the day at 20-1. Not pleasant to watch.

  • 16:11
    Rory's approach to 6 misses left. He's in rough. Where else? It is car crash golf now from a player clearly at odds with his game. So poor it is compelling.
  • 16:12
  • 16:15
  • 16:15
    Kuchar makes par on 10 to hang in with the leaders on -5. It's still him, with Spieth and Koepka in the clubhouse on 5-under.
  • 16:19
    Five bogeys in a row. That's 5 over par thro six holes for Roory. His putt horseshoes out of that one. But that has been his game so far today. Nothing has gone right and you just have to start thinking now about the possibility of a melt down if that has not already happened. T121 at the moment.
  • 16:22
    Others going well today outside of bogey-free Kuchar are Hoffman and Lipsky at -3. They are both past the rurn at this stage thro holes 10 and 12 respectively.
  • 16:25
    Beef ends his round with par and a 69. His -1 is a crowd pleaser. How great it would be to see a golfer like him in contention on Sunday. A sort of Lowry type figure on laugh pills.
  • 16:26
  • 16:28
    Rory Par. It's his first in five holes. He's +5 thro seven. It might be time to back him for thre PGA???
  • 16:28
  • 16:30
    Els is -2 thro 15 holes. Now the question for the Big Easy is can he keep it going over four days with the pressure coming from all directions.
  • 16:35
    Canadian Austin Connolly has just moved in to T4 on -4 thro 17 holes. There are 6 birdies on his card today along with a bogey on 6 and a double bogey on 16. Hoffman and Lipsky also sit on 3 under.
  • 16:41
    Rory has one leg in a ditch and the other out. He's in the rough again at the 8th hole. He takes a controlled slash and the ball squits....well somewhere. There it is in the rough again. But he sticks his third on the green hoping for a decent putt to halt the run of bogeys.
  • 16:42
  • 16:46

    Rory makes the long putt for par thro 8 holes. DJ and Schwartzel, who are playing with him are on level par.

  • 16:48
  • 16:51
    Not going great for Mickelson. he's +1 after 7 holes. A few good holes could turn it for him, his putt on seven, a left to right just stying out.
  • 16:53

    Bland ends on -3, well up the leaderboard. The last Open he played was 10 years ago, also at Birkdale.

    "I kept it in play. I didn't hit a lot of faiways but I was there or there abouts. My distance control was good."

  • 16:56

    Rory stitches his ball to eight feet at the 9th hole. Normality has resumed and he has a putt for birdie. The turn at +4 would be considerably better than +5. Could there be a back nine revival?

    Meanwhile Kuchar just misses a long putt at 14 that would have put him at -6 and the outright lead.

  • 16:59
    No Rory misses that putt.. No surprise. That's 39 at the turn or five over par and no smiles.
  • 17:04

    Padraig Harrington, who finished on three over earlier in the day, admitted it just wasn’t his day afterwards. “Conditions were tough but they’d set the pins appropriately — it just wasn’t a good scoring day for me. I was disappointed early in the round not to make more of it. I’ll be trying my hardest (on Friday) regardless. The key is hopefully I get a bit of momentum in the round but it’s not like you can go out and force it.”  

  • 17:11

    Still no-one other than Kuchar challenging the clubhouse lead of Spieth and Koepka.
    -5 Spieth (18), Koepka (80), Kuchar (14)
    -3 Poulter (18), Thomas (18), Bland (18), Connelly (18), Laird (17), Els (17), Lipsky (15), Hoffman (13), Schauffele (5)
    Irish leaderboard: +2 Lowry (18), +3 Harrington (18), +5 Clarke (18), McIlroy (9)


     

  • 17:17
    Rory, in trouble off the tee (again), finds the front of the 10th green and safely gets home in par. Yes, he’s steadied the ship after dropping shots like confetti earlier in the round but pars won’t get it done after that disastrous start. Elsewhere, three quick birdies see Kevin Na reach that big group on three under.
  • 17:20
    “Deep dark, shadowy pits of pain.” Andrew Coltart gets carried away with himself describing the bunkers at Mordor/Birkdale.  
  • 17:26

    Ernie Els drops a shot at the last, as did Martin Laird in the group ahead of him, and they both finish with 68s (two under).

  • 17:33
    Almost three hours into his round, and Rory McIlroy has his first birdie of the day. An excellent approach at the 11th is rewarded with a three and he claws a shot back (four over). Somewhat further up the leaderboard and Charley Hoffman closes to within one of the lead as he reaches four under.  
  • 17:37

    A quick check at the forecast for tomorrow and there doesn’t seem to be an easy side of the draw. Whatever about the steady rain, it’s the winds of 40kph throughout the day that could make life, eh, interesting.  

  • 17:42
    Back-to-back birdies for Hoffman and he joins the group on five under. On the 12th green, McIlroy’s birdie attempt misses on the low side but it’s a safe par and he stays on four over.  
  • 17:42
  • 17:46
    Jordan Spieth was pretty happy with his effort this morning, awarding himself a player rating of 9/10. We’ll have to check with Cummiskey. “"Everything was strong. I thought I give it a nine across the board for everything - tee balls, ball-striking, short game and putting. So things are in check. It's just about keeping it consistent."
  • 17:50

    The leaderboard looks like a star spangled banner at this stage.
    -5 Spieth (18), Koepka (18), Kuchar (16), Hoffman (15)

  • 17:59
    Just the drive of 402 yards for Charl Schwartzel on the 13th, where another birdie slips past the hole for McIlroy. Schwartzel’s birdie does find the cup and he’s up to two under.
  • 18:10
    McIlroy’s really picked it up since the turn, another excellent approach at the par 3 14th will give him a good luck for birdie. But it’s not a great putt and never really threatened the hole. Paul Casey finishes his round on four under, alongside Hoffman who drops one off the lead.  
  • 18:13

    Rory's stats -


    Fairways hit - 40 per cent


    Greens in Reg - 57 per cent


    Average drive yards -   Not Available perhaps because they use irons of many of the tees.

    Putts - 24 so far.
  • 18:19
    Kuchar lets a little one slip past on 17 to take the outright lead. It is one you would have bet your house on him getting. Six feet down hill... but he just sends it off on the wrong line and it rolls past. He slaps his blade. But he has a smile on his face. He stays on 5 under with leaders Spieth and Koepka, who are in the clubhouse.
  • 18:23

    Kuchar finishes his round with a superb 65 and is joint leader on -5

    Hoffman is playing 18 and on -3, Kevin Na on 11 and -3

    Els shoots a 68 for -2

  • 18:24
  • 18:26
  • 18:27
    Kuchar's 65 is his lowest career round in any Major.
  • 18:32
    Rory on 15 has a good chance to get a shot back. He is on the par 5 green in two with an eagle putt... It's a long one but he just shaves the cup and bends backwards as it rolls by. What a difference that would have made. Any way he taps in for birdie and moves to +3. The old McIlroy but has he left it too late to stay in this competition.
  • 18:35
    11 pars 3 bogeys. That's Phil Mickelson on +3. His long, long putt on 15 just stops on the lip. It's so close that he waits for a few seconds in case the wind blows it over the edge. But no. That's been his day.
  • 18:38
    If your money is on Hoffman, it is still good. The American just misses his birdie putt on 18 but he closes with a 67 and -3, just two shots off the leaders.
  • 18:42
    Rory way short at 16. It leaves him with another putt or wedge from off the green with the flag well up on the front. DJ also short as they both misjudge the fresh breeze into teir faces. Schwartzel punches a cut down six iron and that does the job.
  • 18:45
    "Royal Birkdale, maybe the best links in the world" - Paul Casey. It would be when you have just short a 66 and are a shot of the leaders.
  • 18:46
    McIlroy pitches up the way we know he can at 16 and should get the par putt from around four feet. There is a 567 yard par 5 next, which he can reach in two...
  • 18:52

    Two birdies and no bogeys on the back 9 from Rory in a much better run than his troubling front 9. But he really needs this putt at 16 to get within seven shots of the leaders. He gets it.

    Meanwhile a double bogey from Na at 13 drops him from -3 to a more modest -1.

  • 18:54
  • 19:03

    Rory hits a long one from the tee (what's new?) but nobody is quite sure where it has landed - an important aspect if he is hoping to hit the green in two on this   par 5. You get the feeling that the crowd is willing him to haul himself up the leaderboard. They really want him to be in contention.

    Meanwhile at 15 Cabrera Bello has a short putt to go to -3

     

  • 19:05
    Rory is sitting down in the rough and 192 yards from the pin. He swings smoothly and it's high and straight and on the green. He has an eagle putt coming up at 17.
  • 19:07
    Cabrero Bella taps in for par and moves to -3 thro 15 holes.
  • 19:12

    5 birdies 10 pars a 2 bogeys puts Schwartzel on -3. He's playing with DJ and Rory and just taps in for birdie at 17.

    DJ's eagle effort from off the green curls around the camber but rolls on past the cup. He misses the return and ramains +1

    Rory, on the green, hits the ball and chases after it. It is bang on line but falls short. Still he takes away a tap in birdie and moves to +2.

  • 19:13
  • 19:15
  • 19:17

    18 th

    Rory takes 3-wood and launches it down the left leaving it a few yards short of the bunker at 350 yards. He's in perfect position for his approach. Never ceases to amaze how far they are hitting thr ball.

  • 19:20
  • 19:23

    Schwartzel (-3) hits a 6-iron which gets a members bounce to 8 feet on 18.

    DJ launces a wedge from 167 and hits the green leaving a long birdie putt.

    Rory hits wedge from 147 yards and he has a sniff of birdie from 15 feet.

  • 19:26
    Cabrera Bello fires in his 6th birdie of the round on 16 to move to -4. The Spaniard has birdied the last two holes and moves to a par 5 that is reachable in 2.
  • 19:29

    What an end from Rory. He rolls the ball from 15 feet and it is in all the way. Birdie. What a turn around from +5 at the turn and down and out, He has turned his game around and walks away +1

    DJ finishes with par for +1

    Birdie, Birdie finish for Schwartzel puts him in a comfortable -4

  • 19:30
  • 19:30
  • 19:32

    The Irish on the first day all in plus figures after 18 holes.

    Rory +1

    Lowry +2

    Harrington +3

    Clarke +5

     

  • 19:36
    Dubliner Colin Byrne, by the way, is on the bag of Cabrera Bello, or, Rafa as he is sometimes known. Rafa is -4 thro 16 holes with the par 5 up next at 17.
  • 19:42
  • 19:43
  • 19:44
    Rahm may have moved the ball with his feet. There's a bit of a kerfuffle that he kicked some Royal and Ancient ghosts.
  • 19:46

    Rafa chucks it into 17 with a wedge as he sensibly takes three shots to the green after his drive was in rough. He now faces a birdie putt for a share of the five under lead.

    Buba's ball is green this week.

  • 19:48
    Rafa misses his putt to the left as his ball curls away. He stays at -4, a shot off the lead.
  • 19:51

    Rory -

    "Very proud of myself. i didn't know where I was after 6 holes. I figured something out. I'm working on a few things on the range and it didn't quite translate. When I trust myself and back myself I am able to do what I did in the last six holes.

    "I needed that back nine. I'm back in it. If I can go out there tomorrow and keep doing the things I have I feel I'm in with a roll."

  • 19:54
    Bubba is -2 going down 18 with Mickelson ending with a 73 in a birde-free round for him and +3.
  • 20:01
  • 20:03

    McIlroy credits his caddie JP for turing his round into something positive.

    He said to me on the 6th tee. You're Rory McIlroy what the f**k are you doing?

  • 20:07

    Bubba closes on -2 for a 68 and well in the tournament.

    Cabrera Bello shaves the cup for a 67 and is one shot off the leader on -4.

    That's about it for the evening folks. Join us tomorrow and follow the fortunes of Rory McIlroy and see if he can bridge the gap between his +1 and -5 leaders. In a stunning back 9 Rory is back in it.

    Good night.

  • 20:08
  • 20:09
    Finally. Good night.