American trio lead as Aussies off to slow start at The Open: Round 1 wrap and video highlights

Jordan Spieth, Matt Kuchar and Brooks Koepka lead The Open through round one at Royal Birkdale.

Jordan Spieth, Matt Kuchar and Brooks Koepka shot 5-under 65 opening rounds to share the lead after round one of The 2017 Open at Royal Birkdale but each played a very different round.

Spieth was in one of the early groups out and looked very settled, almost in second gear posting his 65 to set the clubhouse lead. As the early rain cleared, Spieth chewed mint gum and looked as comfortable as he had in a major for some time as he carded his bogey-free start to The Open.

“I brushed my teeth and then I ate breakfast. And then I got out here and Cameron offered me a piece of gum,” Spieth said after the round. “I was 1-under through two, and I thought I better keep it in and it’s still in now. It’s probably about time for a new piece.”

“Payne Stewart used to do it and it served him well. But I think mint has some sort of effect on nerves. But I was still feeling them a bit out there. So I don’t think it’s beneficial at all.”

Brooks Koepka’s round was going just as smoothly. Three consecutive birdies to the US Open champion saw Keopka get to 4-under par at the 13th hole before a bogey at the difficult par-4 16th hole. Ten minutes later any memory of the bogey was quickly deleted as Keopka holed out for eagle from the greenside bunker at the 17th to join Spieth in a share of the lead.

“I played really solid. And unfortunately one bogey on 16, just a bad putt,” Koepka said. “But 17 was actually a terrible lie in the bunker. It was in one of the those rake marks. And my caddie told me to get inside ten feet; that would be pretty good. And luckily enough it went in.”

Matt Kuchar wasted no time in climbing his way up the leaderboard soon after as the sun shone on the afternoon groups at Royal Birkdale.

In breezy conditions, Kuchar posted five birdies on his way to an opening nine 29 (par 34). Nine pars on the way back to the clubhouse had Kuchar join his fellow Americans in a tie for the lead. The 5-under par round was his best ever score in a major.

“I know I’ve been around a while, but I also feel like I’m in about the prime of my golfing career,” Kuchar said. “I feel like I certainly have as good a chance as anybody.”

Veterans Paul Casey and Charl Schwartzel sit one stroke behind the trio of Americans at 4-under par but it was a more placid start for the Australians in the field.

Jason Day’s attire had everyone talking as he began his round. Sporting jogging pants and a pair of Air Jordan high-top golf shoes, the traditionalists were up in arms and wondering how he even got through the front gate.

A birdie at the third hole had Day off to a great start but the rest of his round was interspersed with bogeys and settled for a 1-under par start in his quest for a Claret Jug.

Adam Scott probably thinks he is owed a Claret Jug and looked steady without doing anything flashy to also card a 1-under par 69 along with three other Australians; Aaron Baddeley, Andrew Dodt and Marc Leishman.

“If someone offered that up, I would have taken that. I’m playing well, so I know there are good scores out there, but I’ve got to put it all together,” Scott said after his round. “I’ve got a make a couple more of those six- or seven-footers for par and one or two better swings and now you’re talking 65. So it’s not far away.”

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