Paws for thought as Holmes eyes Open win


You start the game by yourself and you finish it by yourself regardless of how sideways your round has gone.

As a competitor, Spieth's determination and grit have honored that of the legend he was named after - Michael Jordan. The Indian then made successive birdies on holes six and seven but they were offset by bogeys on 12 and 14 before he closed his round with four straight pars starting from the 15th hole.

That's why he should be considered a lethal threat over the next 36 holes at The Open despite his two-year victory drought, his nearly comical weekend failures and his admission Friday that he still isn't hitting the ball worth a spit.

"I literally don't care anymore", he said, standing with his hands on his hips.

The 1996 Open victor, who mostly plays now on the Champions Tour, missed the cut after adding a second round 76 to his opening 78. He won in 2013 and has finished as a runner-up twice, but other than that he's got three missed cuts and no finishes better than T20 since 2010.

"I actually played well".

"Every time you play in an Open you're going to have unique conditions where it's going to be windy and more than likely rainy", Holmes said. "So that's going to be the mentality".

The Kentuckian birdied the last hole at Royal Portrush for a 5-under 66, leaving him a stroke clear of Shane Lowry.

Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose and Lee Westwood are all well-placed to claim the game's most prestigious trophy in the tournament's return to Portrush. He is ranked 166th in third-round scoring (71.31) and 196th in fourth-round scoring (73.08).

One look at Woods joylessly plodding his way around Royal Portrush on Friday, though, and it's apparent that he's not only human after all - but an aging human at that. He hasn't competed since June 16 at the U.S. Open, and has only 10 rounds under his belt since his victory in the Masters. I just go out there and have fun. It was his first missed cut in nine starts in this championship.

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"I always get pumped up for major championships", Spieth said.

"I hit it great".

"There was a course in Lincolnshire that had been redesigned and Dai Rees (former Ryder Cup captain) and Max Faulkner and myself played an exhibition match to open it". On the 18th, he drove down the middle of the fairway, one of the few he hit Friday, put his approach on the green and just missed his birdie putt. He shot 20-over 91 in the first round, including a 14 on the par-5 seventh hole.

It was also his firm belief in himself as a certified victor.

"We were hoping Tiger (Woods) had done a little better", she said. And then he had two back surgeries before the end of the year.

"It was nearly as if that first tee shot settled me down a little bit", he added.

He is a creative player who grew up shaping his ball in the Texas wind, threatening again in the major that requires more creativity and wind management than the other three.

"I love the atmosphere and I love the stress of playing in a major".

Wearing a sash and plastic tiara with 50 emblazoned on each, the keen golfer admitted to spending "a lot of money" in the merchandise tent before heading out to root for some United States stars. It was the tournament's first visit to Royal Portrush in almost 70 years.

It'll require a very specific set of circumstances for either one to win on the big stage again - ideal weather, flawless course, Brooks Koepka getting kidnapped - but it's possible.