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Wednesday 7 December 2016

Jordan Spieth makes quick start at British Open as Woods struggles

USA's Jordan Spieth tees off the 6th during day one of The Open Championship 2015 at St Andrews, Fife
USA's Jordan Spieth tees off the 6th during day one of The Open Championship 2015 at St Andrews, Fife

American whizzkid Jordan Spieth, hoping to make it three major victories in a row, was quickly into his stride early in the first round of the 144th British Open on Thursday.

While the 21-year-old was flying high towards the top of the leaderboard at five-under-par through seven holes, former world number one Tiger Woods was struggling to get to grips with the Fife links.

American Robert Streb was leading the way at six-under in benign conditions featuring barely a breath of wind after cramming seven birdies in the opening 16 holes.

All eyes were on Spieth, though, and he gave an early statement of his intent by ramming in a six-foot birdie putt at the first.

The world number two, looking smart in a grey sweater and white trousers, added a second birdie when he rolled in a 12-foot putt at the next.

Spieth, bidding to emulate the feat of compatriot Ben Hogan who won the U.S. Masters, the U.S. Open and the British Open in 1953, showed he was human by missing from eight feet at the third.

However, he made further inroads on par at the fifth, sixth and seventh to move within one shot of leader Streb.

Playing partner Dustin Johnson, who was pipped for the title by Spieth after three-putting the 72nd green at the U.S. Open last month, was also well placed at four-under.

Woods, looking to end a seven-year wait for a major victory, made a wretched start when his second shot at the opening hole found the swilcan burn that guards the front of the green.

The 14-times major winner also bogeyed the second hole when he underclubbed by about 40 yards with his approach shot and was unable to salvage his par.

Woods, who has slumped from first to 241st in the world in the last 14 months, then seemed to let out a profanity after jarring his wrist while playing a three-wood from an awkward lie in the rough at the fifth hole.

Another bogey there left him toiling at three-over for the championship

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