Jordan Speith sees lead cut to one at Open

Open leader Jordan Spieth found himself under unexpected early pressure in the final round at Royal Birkdale as his three-shot advantage was cut to just one in the space of two holes.

The two-time major winner's first bogey in 21 holes came after he found a difficult lie in the rough off the first tee, pulled his second into the crowd and failed to get up and missed a 15-foot par putt.

It brought him down to 10 under, two ahead of playing partner and fellow American Matt Kuchar, who made par.

When Kuchar's tap-in birdie at the next could not be matched by his compatriot from 18ft, the lead was down to one.

The next closest to challenging was China's Li Haotong, who had five birdies in nine holes from the eighth to get to four under.

However, the expected early blitz from the likes of Rory McIlroy, Ian Poulter and Dustin Johnson failed to materialise.

McIlroy found sand on two of his first three holes and could manage only five straight pars while Ryder Cup team-mate Poulter was level par through five after a bogey and a birdie.

Johnson opened up double-bogey, bogey to slip from three under while Hideki Matsuyama, four under at the start, drove out of bounds on his way to signing for a seven at the par-four first.

Brooks Koepka and Canadian Austin Connelly, who began their rounds six shots of the lead, both boegyed the first.

Spieth three-putted the fourth from distance to see his lead wiped out within 48 minutes, although he clawed back the initiative with a six-foot birdie putt at the next.

Up ahead Li finished with back-to-back birdies - making it seven in 11 holes - to set the clubhouse lead at six under.

PA


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