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Monday 24 September 2018

Spieth rides luck to set pace at rain-soaked Birkdale

Jordan Spieth. Photo: PA
Jordan Spieth. Photo: PA

Jordan Spieth gave himself only "a B grade" despite defying strong winds and torrential rain - which led to a short suspension in play in late afternoon - to set the pace at The Open on six under par after a second-round 69.

The two-time Major champion's erratic round included three birdies, four bogeys and an eagle.

Spieth leads by two shots from Matt Kuchar, with Ian Poulter, who was second at Birkdale when it last staged the Open in 2008, on three under alongside US Open champion Brooks Koepka.

Spieth gave himself nine out of 10 following an opening 65, but admitted he needed some good luck to post a halfway total of 134.

"I give myself a B grade today," Spieth said. "I got pretty frustrated through the turn, hitting it into pot bunker after pot bunker and squeaking out pars somehow, but I thought we did a good job after the horn blew.

"It couldn't have been better timing and I could play the last eight holes almost as a new round. I didn't get everything I could out of yesterday's round and I got more than what I deserved today."

That included a mis-hit fairway wood on the 15th which got just a few feet off the ground, but ended up 15 feet from the hole to set up an eagle for the 2015 Masters and US Open champion.

"We've been here before and we're not going for the first Major, but it is the first Open and I'd be lying if I said I won't feel plenty of nerves," added Spieth, who missed out on a play-off at St Andrews in 2015 by a single shot.

"But we've been moving in the right direction and I believe we can do this."

Defending champion Henrik Stenson made light of a burglary at his rented home and joked he was planning to go out in search of the culprit after finishing his round of 73 for a one-over total.

Thieves targeted his accommodation in nearby Formby while he was out on the Southport links on Thursday, stealing his clothes and other personal items.

The Swede, who has broken a club or two in fits of temper when playing, said he would have preferred to have been at home when the intruders struck.

Asked how he felt he said: "I think it was anger. I was also happy that my family wasn't there - and maybe a little disappointed I wasn't!

"I'll be out there looking (for those responsible) tonight.

"To find out that my suitcase and all my clothes were gone was a bit weird. I still had some dirty laundry in another bag so I managed to wash some of that, and (Hugo) Boss provided some other stuff.

"They got a lot of valuables, watches and other things. They were clearly targeting me because they were there when I was out playing and they stole all my gear - normally I don't think burglars would take clothes.

"So if you see people 'Bossed up', feel free to ask what they were doing between 12 and 4pm yesterday."

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