British Open 2017: Americans Jordan Spieth, Brooks Koepka set early pace

He’s 38 years old, a Euro journeyman with only a Challenge Tour win to his name and playing in his first ever major championship.Of course, Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson could change a lot of minds on that, depending on how they play. Mark O’Meara, a victor at Royal Birkdale in 1998 who is playing in his last British Open, hit the opening tee shot. Their sterling efforts on the opening day at Royal Birkdale definitely spells danger for their rivals.Koepka, who won the U.S. Open last month, hit three successive birdies from the 11th hole before making his only bogey at the 16th. I think the golf course is certainly a better test than St. Andrews is. He and his manager, Blake Smith of Hambric Sports, teed it up at The Medalist near his home in Jupiter, Fla., almost two weeks ago (“He beat me”, said Koepka, who did give some shots).”Everything was strong. I thought I’d 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”.The 65s of Ryder Cup team-mates Spieth and Koepka equalled the second lowest first-round score in an Open at Birkdale, a shot outside Craig Stadler’s record of 64 set in 1983.An opening 65 at Birkdale fits nicely with that plan.Four of the top-12 ranked players in the world shot 1-over 71.Spieth may have hit just five of 14 fairways on a testy, tricky day but this was a display of skill, patience and resolve.Co-leader Kuchar, meanwhile, made all five of his birdies on the front nine, and had to settle for a string of nine pars on the back, but he’ll no doubt be satisfied with his day’s efforts. After qualifying with a tie for second at the Johannesburg Open in February, he has made the cut in only one of his last 10 tournaments.Ian Poulter, Justin Rose, and Matthew Fitzpatrick, all Englishmen playing a home game of sorts, have been in the red, shifting back and forth around Manley’s leading number.Hideki Matsuyama of Japan and Sung Kang of South Korea are among the golfers who finished their first round at two under par.Phil Mickelson failed to make a birdie, the first time that has happened in a major in five years, and shot 73.”Apparently life begins at 40 so maybe that’s a good omen for me, ” said Casey, who recovered to finish seventh in 2008″. “But last week I started getting into it and getting antsy to get back out here”. A lot of risk/reward options off the tee out here, and if you choose for the risky, and you still hit a good shot, it really will reward you.All is well with the double major champion’s golf and the rigorous examination of Birkdale was one that he approached with eager gusto. The Swede lies four shots back alongside Australian Jason Day.England’s Justin Rose, the victor of gold at Rio 2016, ended the first round on one-over and is tied for 58 as things stand, alongside world number one Dustin Johnson of the US.