American Jordan Spieth will take a two shot lead into the third round of the Open championship today after a dazzling display around a wet and wild Royal Birkdale.
The horrific weather caused play to be temporarily suspended yesterday afternoon but it could not derail Spieth’s charge towards a first Claret Jug.
The 23-year-old from Dallas is looking to complete the third leg of a career grand slam having won the Masters and the US Open in 2015.
He followed up his first round 65 with, given the testing conditions, an equally impressive one under par 69 to move to six under for the tournament, two ahead of fellow American Matt Kuchar.
Englishman Ian Poulter and last month’s US Open champion Brooks Koepka are both three under par with Aberdeen’s Richie Ramsay one shot further back.
But the day belonged to Spieth, whose highlight was an eagle three on the 15th that took him to seven under, although he missed a short putt at the next to drop back to six.
It was a completely different outcome to 12 months ago at Troon when Spieth fell out of contention on the Friday with a four over 75 on a similar day of wind and rain.
He said: “That Friday afternoon at Troon was the worst stuff I’ve ever played in.
“It was brutal.
“We didn’t really experience anything like that today. I didn’t think the conditions got as bad as, when I was sitting on the couch this morning, what we expected.
“They were very tough and I thought it was going to be like that for a lot of the round.
“I thought even par would be like an eight under round when I was sitting on the couch this morning.
“But it was very satisfying. We were not on the good end of the draw but we seem to have grinded it out.”
A resilient Kuchar followed up his opening 65 with a one over par 71 and admitted afterwards that the gusts of up to 40 miles per hour forced to aim at the galleries on certain holes.
He said: “The conditions were really hard and challenging.
“It felt like every hole was a crosswind hole and it felt like you had to play for so much curve on the ball as the wind was so strong. It was quite a trying, challenging day.
“What stood out was the 12th hole. It was playing about 162 yards and the wind was coming off the left.
“I used a 5-iron. There’s a hill right of the green with nasty, weedy grass that you just don’t want to be in so I must have aimed 30 yards left of the pin into the crowd, hit a shot, started at the crowd, and stayed at the crowd for a long time before finally in the last 20 yards it started to drift over and ended up in the middle of the green.
“It was really tricky trying to try to figure it out.”
Among those missing the cut were 2008 champion Padraig Harrington (+6), Patrick Reed (+8) and Phil Mickelson (+10).