THE OPEN

Jordan Spieth seeking improvement despite two-shot lead

Jordan Spieth3

Jordan Spieth is seeking an improvement to one part of his game as he looks to seal his third major title at the Open.

That’s despite the 23-year-old being one of only six players to break par all day at Royal Birkdale as a one-under-par 69 moved him two clear of fellow first round co-leader Matt Kuchar.

In posting rounds of 65-69, Spieth tied Craig Stadler for the lowest 36-hole total in Open history at Royal Birkdale (134) and, while the American is delighted with the position he finds himself in, he knows that he needs to improve off the tee if he wants to give himself the best chance of capturing the Claret Jug on Sunday.

“I don’t think I’ve driven the ball particularly well," he said. "It’s close. I’m playing a lot of shots that are going into the first cut, which is going to happen a lot round here with the narrow fairways, and you need to play away from bunkers too which leads to some shots out of the rough. 

"But control of the ball off the tee is probably going to be the most important statistic for me this weekend."

Jordan Spieth5

In leading after 36 holes, Spieth has now experienced being at the summit of the leaderboard in an incredible 13 of his first 68 major rounds - six more than Tiger Woods in that span - and says that while he feels comfortable at the moment, there will be nerves over the weekend.

“I feel great and I wouldn’t expect anything different," he added. "Anytime you’re in the final group of a major heading into the weekend, you feel nervous, and I’ll be feeling it this weekend. 

"But I enjoy it because as long as I approach it positively and recognise that this is what you want to feel because you’re in the position you want to be in, the easier it is to hit solid shots."

Matt Kuchar

Ryder Cup team-mate Kuchar will join Spieth in tomorrow's final group after he battled to a one-over-par 71 on a day when only six players, including Spieth, broke 70.

Rory McIlroy was one of those with a two-under-par 68 to surge up the leaderboard, while Zach Johnson climbed 101 places with a round-of-the-day four-under-par 66.

As well as Spieth, Kuchar and McIlroy, only six other players are under par for the championship. Ian Poulter and Brooks Koepka are on three-under, Scotland's Richie Ramsay is on two-under and Austin Connelly, Gary Woodland and Richard Bland are level with McIlroy on one-under.

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