SOUTHPORT, England (AP) LEADING: A trio of Americans, Jordan Spieth, Brooks Koepka and Matt Kuchar , shot 5-under-65.
JUST BEHIND: Paul Casey and Charl Schwartzel at 66, with five others another shot back.
EASY PICKINGS: Spieth didn't make a bogey all day as he began the chase for his first British Open title.
NO RUST: Koepka was playing for the first time since winning the U.S. Open last month. He said he picked up his clubs only twice after winning before coming to Royal Birkdale.
GOING LOW: On a course that traditionally plays tough there were 39 players under par. Another 18 shot even par.
NOTEWORTHY: Rory McIlroy rebounded after making bogeys on five of his first six holes. McIlroy did not make another bogey, and his four birdies coming in left him at 1-over-71.
SHOT OF THE DAY: Charley Hoffman hit an iron from the right rough into the hole on No. 1 for an eagle.
QUOTEWORTHY: ''You're Rory McIlroy, what are you doing?'' - caddie J.P. Fitzgerald to McIlroy on the sixth tee after his faltering start.
TELEVISION: Friday, 1:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. EDT (Golf Channel)