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Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth favourites as British Open begins

Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth favourites as British Open begins

Didn't we learn that lesson when a fresh and rested Roger Federer won Wimbledon last weekend?

High winds and hard playing conditions battered the best golfers in the world on Friday as scores ballooned during the morning wave at the 146th Open Championship being contested at Royal Birkdale in Southport, England.

He came through qualifying at his home course Woburn to make it to Birkdale, where he finished runner-up to Padraig Harrington in 2008 in what remains his best performance at a major.

Poulter teed off in the worst of the conditions early on but he defied the elements and, as the clouds gave way to sunshine mid-morning, he wielded a hot putter only 25 times and mixed four birdies with just one dropped shot to set the early target at three under. It was Spieth's best start in a major since he opened with a 66 at the Masters a year ago. The back nine is playing really, really hard. "So things are in check".

Shane Lowry endured a tough back nine as he carded a two-over-par 72. He finished in a six-way tie for sixth, one shot behind Paul Casey and Charl Schwartsel.

Matt Kuchar is even for the day and still atop the leaderboard at 5 under. The Friday forecast calls for rain in the afternoon but, in talking to locals, it's anyone's guess.

"We were made aware that an option being considered was to take the tee shot at nine down the 10th fairway", R & A chief executive Martin Slumbers said.

All day, as it has been all year, Spieth's approach play was on. "I think anything around even par today is going to be a great score". And my caddie told me to get inside 10 feet, that would be pretty good.

As for Kuchar, he has earned $39.77 million since joining the PGA Tour in 2001 but is still looking for his first victory in a major.

Sikkim standoff: China moves loads of military hardware into Tibet
The panel's members, including Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, posed a series of questions to him pertaining to stand-off. China and India have a number of border disputes, although the section now in question is generally regarded as stable.

Of the three first-round leaders at the British Open, Matt Kuchar was the first to tee off Friday in windy conditions at Royal Birkdale. I'm excited. I'm pumped up.

"When we played in that afternoon on Friday I think was the worst stuff I've ever played in", he said. I came here to try to play some good golf.

After a steady start, the two-time Major champion caught fire with a birdie on eight, before picking up a further shot on nine to turn in 31.

He made the par putt - Spieth made a lot of putts on Thursday - picked up a two-putt birdie on the 17th and narrowly missed a 7-foot birdie putt on the last.

Rory McIlroy was hanging his head on Thursday.

Despite the frustrating nature of a season that has been hampered by injury, McIlroy has continued to maintain that his game was "close" to getting back to its best. "It was up to 95 percent by 4 [p.m.], chance of rain 100 percent 4 or 5 [p.m.]".

The reality is that McIlroy has a lot more work to do if he is to get back into the business end of matters. And then if it got running at all, it could go off the green the other side and be in the downslope of the next bunker. These are the four biggest tournaments of the year. "We've got spots to play out here that we can hit greens from".

"I tried to spend more time with the kids and enjoy that time rather than sit there and have disappointment on my face".

"It was just absolutely sheets of sideways rain is how I described it. But somehow I was able to find it halfway through the round and, again, that's what I'm going to concentrate on going into tomorrow".


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