Open hopes fade for inconsistent McIlroy

Open hopes fade for inconsistent McIlroy

Jordan Spieth leads Matt Kuchar by three shots heading into the final round of the Open Championship after a gripping battle between the pair on day two of action.

The 29-year-old's brilliant effort took him from four over par to four under, although that was still seven shots behind two-time major victor Spieth, who carded a second bogey-free 65 of the week.

A standout moment in Spieth's second round on Friday saw the young Texan hole a chip for an unlikely par from off the back of the 10th green, when he looked set to drop at least one stroke and lose a share of the lead.

Final pairing Spieth and Kuchar showed the rest of the field a clean pair of heels, despite a number of low scores from the chasing pack, one of which came from Austin Connelly, who shot an impressive 66 to finish the day in a tie for third, alongside Brooks Koepka.

After his US Open win at Erin Hills last month, Koepka is in with a chance of becoming the first player since Spieth two years ago to triumph in back-to-back majors.

Photo Branden Grace at the end of Saturday's round, in which he became the first man to shoot a 62 in a major championship.

Playing with Australian Jason Day, American Zach Johnson returned a brilliant 66 to soar to one over in his quest for a third major title after winning the 2015 Open at St Andrews and the 2007 Masters. Despite sitting five shots back at the start of Round 3, the four-time major victor and the Open Champion in 2014, has the second best odds to win the Claret Jug for the second time in his career.

On the 15 par-five, Spieth looked to have left the door open for Kuchar to move level when he dragged his third shot 10 foot wide. "It has to do with it was someone else's day, and I didn't play as well as I should have". I'll know exactly where we stand, but I don't know how much that ever helps you. "Again, I'll be playing with him (Spieth) but not focused on him".

The reigning Australian Open champion and world No.3 fashioned an eventful two-under-par 69 in the wet and wild weather to climb to six-under for the tournament.

Making safety first on the 4th
Zarek said his advice for people wanting to enjoy fireworks is to go to a public show put on by trained professionals. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 11,100 injuries were associated with fireworks in 2016.

Spieth, who was six-under overnight, picked up three birdies on the front nine at Royal Birkdale, at the 3rd, 7th and 8th holes.

"It was a day where you had to be aggressive", Spieth said after his round. "I hit it low off the heel, which is easy to do when you're trying to carve a cut".

Spieth, though, defied a torrential downpour - which led to ground staff needing nearly half an hour to sponge the rain-soaked greens - to assume control with his eagle on the par-5 15th. "I think it has to do with I'm very confident with how I'm hitting it".

This was the first time that Kuchar had gone out in the last group in a major.

Three-time Major champ Spieth drained a 20ft birdie putt on the last to sit on 11 under as Rory McIlroy also melted at Birkdale.

Kuchar mixed four bogeys with three birdies to keep the morning challengers at bay.

"I can't make mistakes with bogeys tomorrow if I want to catch them".

Skinny: Spieth has won twice on the PGA Tour this season, including Travelers Championship in late June. Kuchar is the essence of steady in a game that ebbs and flows, but he's never had a better chance to win a major than this one. "Today was just go out there and take advantage when you get a good number and when you don't, take your medicine".

Deluges of rain and strong winds had the packed galleries at Royal Birkdale cowering under quivering umbrellas or scampering for the exits in the afternoon.