Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy plays out of the bunker on the 7th hole during the first round of the British Open Golf Championship, at Royal Birkdale, Southport, England Thursday, July 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
Peter Morrison
July 21, 2017

SOUTHPORT, England (AP) The Latest on the British Open (all times local):

9 p.m.

The American flag continues to fly high in the wind at the British Open, with 10 U.S. players among the 20 who were at par or better.

Jordan Spieth at 6-under 134 and Matt Kuchar at 4-under 136 will be in the final group on Saturday at Royal Birkdale. U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka was three shots out of the lead, and Gary Woodland put together a 69. He was five shots behind.

Six other Americans were at even-par 210, including a pair of surprises. One is Kent Bulle from Glasgow, Kentucky, who shot a 72. He qualified by winning the Argentina Open. The other is Chan Kim, who grew up in Hawaii and went to Arizona State. Kim plays mainly in Asia and qualified by winning the Mizuno Open in Japan.

---

8 p.m.

Jordan Spieth finished off a windy and wet second round of the British Open with a 1-under 69 to take the lead.

This is the fourth time the 23-year-old Texan has at least a share of the 36-hole lead in a major. He won the Masters and U.S. Open in 2015 and had control of the 2016 Masters until his infamous triple bogey on the 12th hole at Augusta National.

Spieth seized control of the lead with birdies on the 11th and 12th hole. He was on his way to a bigger lead with a 3-wood that rolled 100 yards onto the green to about 15 feet. But he missed a short par putt on the 16th.

Spieth was at 6-under 134. Matt Kuchar was two shots behind.

---

7 p.m.

Competitive golf was not limited to Royal Birkdale this week at the British Open. There was a match down the road at Southport & Ainsdale between the 13-year-old sons of Ian Poulter and John Daly.

Luke Poulter registered a 1-up victory over Little John Daly in eight holes.

The boys returned to the Poulter house, and Poulter reported that one of them was very happy (Luke) and one was upset (Little John). Poulter says it probably didn't help that Luke was playfully rubbing it in.

Now where would he learn to do that?

Poulter, a longtime thorn in the Americans' side at the Ryder Cup, smiled and said the boy must have picked that up from his mother.

---

6:10 p.m.

Right when Jordan Spieth was starting to slide down the leaderboard, his short game turned his fortunes around in a hurry.

Spieth made bogey on No. 9 to fall into a share of the lead, and he was headed for a bogey or worse on No. 10 when he drove into a pot bunker, blasted out sideways and hit his third shot short and left of the green as the rain picked up.

He chipped in for par. Then, he rolled in a 35-foot birdie putt across the green on No. 11. And he followed that with a tee shot into 2 feet on the par-3 12th hole for another birdie. He was at 6 under and had a two-shot lead.

Brooks Koepka was at 4 under. Ian Poulter shot a 70 and was at 3-under 137.

The rain was so heavy that play was stopped for 10 minutes because the greens were holding too much water.

---

5:30 p.m.

Justin Thomas started with a double bogey by driving into the gorse. And then his second round of the British Open got worse.

Much worse.

Thomas hit his second shot on the par-4 sixth hole well to the right in deep grass. He tried to hack it out of rough so thick that his hands came off the club and the ball stayed there. He tried it again - same thing. And on the third try, he didn't see where it went and couldn't find the ball, leading to a penalty stroke and a drop. His seventh shot went onto the green - it really was a nice shot - and he two-putted for a 9.

Thomas started the second round two shots out of the lead. He shot 43 on the front nine and was outside the cut line.

Maybe he should have kept his tie on from Thursday.

---

4:30 p.m.

Mark O'Meara played his 110th and final round at the British Open, and he went out swinging.

O'Meara started with a quadruple-bogey 8 in the opening round and shot 81. In severe conditions Friday, he made bogey on the final hole and still shot 70.

O'Meara played in the final group at Royal Birkdale in 1991 when Ian Baker-Finch won. He won the claret jug at Birkdale seven years later.

The loudest cheer on the 18th, however, wasn't for him.

Chris Wood was playing alongside him and holed out from the fairway for an eagle 2 that assured Wood playing the weekend.

Wood and Ryan Moore graciously waited back in the fairway so O'Meara could soak up the applause one last time. O'Meara then turned and waved up Woods with his own applause.

British Open champions are exempt as long as they are 60 or younger. O'Meara turned 60 this year.

---

3:50 p.m.

Henrik Stenson had more than the wind at Royal Birkdale on his mind when he teed off Friday in the British Open. The private house where he is staying this week was burglarized.

Stenson says he learned about the burglary when he finished his opening round.

What they didn't get was the claret jug. He gave that back to the R&A on Monday. But he says the thieves took some valuable personal items and all of his clothing for the week. Stenson says he was happy that his family was not there at the time.

Stenson says he's going to try not to let the burglary spoil what has been a great week for him as the defending champion.

---

3:20 p.m.

Phil Mickelson finally made some birdies at the British Open. It won't keep him at Royal Birkdale this weekend, though.

The 2013 champion shot a 7-over 77 in gusty conditions in his second round and was 10 over for the tournament. He was way off the projected cut mark, which was currently at 4 over.

Mickelson failed to make a birdie Thursday, the first time that has happened in a major in five years. He did so on the first hole in his second round and had four birdies in total, but he had eight bogeys and a triple-bogey 7 at No. 3.

The 47-year-old Mickelson hasn't won a tournament since lifting the claret jug at Muirfield.

Rory McIlroy posted a 2-under 68 and was 1 under for the tournament, three off the clubhouse lead held by Matt Kuchar on 4 under.

---

1:50 p.m.

Matt Kuchar set the score everyone else has to chase in the wind at the British Open.

Kuchar made a bogey on the 18th hole and had to settle for a 1-over 71 in the second round, though that was a good score in 25 mph gusts that put a premium on making par. He was at 4-under 136.

Jordan Spieth and Brooks Koepka, who teed off in the afternoon, were at 5 under.

Richie Ramsay of Scotland posted a 70 and was at 2-under 138.

---

12:50 p.m.

Rory McIlroy got into contention in the British Open with three birdies on the front nine. He stayed there with three pars that were just as critical.

McIlroy holed par putts of about 10 feet on the 10th and 11th holes to start the back nine. His tee shot on the par-3 12th tumbled into a pot bunker, and he nearly holed that one.

He remained at 2 under for the tournament.

Matt Kuchar reached 6 under for the second time Friday, only to make bogey on the 16th hole to fall back to 5 under. Of the 24 players who have finished the second round, Jamie Lovemark (69) was the only one to break par.

---

12:10 p.m.

Rory McIlroy was hanging his head on Thursday. There was a bounce in his step on Friday at the British Open.

McIlroy made three birdies and shot 31 on the front nine at Royal Birkdale. That's eight shots better than his opening round, and suddenly he's back in contention again. McIlroy was at 2-under par and only three shots out of the lead.

Matt Kuchar is even for the day and still atop the leaderboard at 5 under. The other co-leaders, Jordan Spieth and Brooks Koepka, don't tee off until the afternoon when the wind is supposed to get even stronger.

Meanwhile, Dustin Johnson is in danger of missing another cut in a major. Johnson is in the same group as McIlroy. The No. 1 player in the world has made only one birdie in 27 holes. He is 3 over for the tournament.

---

11:20 a.m.

Kent Bulle might be Glasgow's best hope in this British Open.

Trouble is, he's from Glasgow, Kentucky.

Of the 52 Americans in the field at Royal Birkdale, Bulle is the least known. The 28-year-old who went to Middle Tennessee State spends most of his time between the PGA Tour Latinoamerica and the Web.com Tour. He had played in only one PGA Tour event - the U.S. Open last summer at Oakmont - when he was medalist at one of the smaller sectional qualifiers. He missed the cut.

The R&A, trying to expand its reach, this year offered an exemption to the winner of the Argentina Open. Bulle won it for the second straight year.

He's having a ball at Birkdale. Bulle opened with a 68, and then started his second round with a birdie. He was tied for fourth in the early stages Friday, and that's no bull.

---

10:30 a.m.

Sergio Garcia appears to have a problem with his right shoulder after angrily swinging his club into shrubs on the fourth hole at the British Open.

The Masters champion sent his tee shot to the back left of the green near some bushes at Royal Birkdale. He didn't have a full back swing and his second shot came up short.

After taking his shot, Garcia looked behind him and swung his club into the shrubs. He clutched his shoulder immediately. He wound up with a bogey.

It certainly didn't affect his power. Garcia drove the green on the 346-yard fifth hole and made eagle. But as he walked to the green on the par-3 seventh, he was seen chatting with a medical official.

Garcia was 1 under after nine holes and 2-over par for the championship.

---

9:50 a.m.

Matt Kuchar is trying to set the target in blustery conditions at the British Open.

Of the three players who shared the lead at Royal Birkdale going into the second round Friday, Kuchar was the only one who played in the morning. The rain has stayed away, though the wind is strong.

Kuchar dropped a shot on his second hole, only to bounce back by chipping in for birdie on No. 3 and adding another birdie on the par-3 fourth to reach 6 under. Depending on how Kuchar fares, he could set a 36-hole score that the second half of the field will try to catch.

The forecast is for worsening conditions in the afternoon.

---

7:30 a.m.

Jordan Spieth rated his opening 5-under 65 at the British Open as one of the top five or six rounds he has ever played in a major. Most of that had to do with the shots he hit. And some of it had to do with timing.

The last thing he wanted to do was try to make up ground in bad weather.

The second round began Friday with a gray sky, cool air, ample wind and a gloomy outlook. The forecast was for occasional showers, slightly heavier in the afternoon, and wind, slightly stronger in the afternoon.

Spieth and Brooks Koepka (65) were to play in the afternoon. Sharing the 18-hole lead was Matt Kuchar, who teed off Friday morning at Royal Birkdale.

You May Like