Pep talk from caddie inspires Rory McIlroy at British Open

USA’s Jordan Spieth plays a shot on the 18th hole in a practice round ahead of the British Open in Southport on Wednesday

USA’s Jordan Spieth plays a shot on the 18th hole in a practice round ahead of the British Open in Southport on Wednesday

All Rory McIlroy did on Friday, in swirling English wind, was birdie both of them as he got back into contention at The Open Championship.

The trio all shot five-under-par rounds of 65 at Royal Birkdale on Thursday and hold a collective one-stroke lead over Paul Casey and South African former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel.

SOUTHPORT, ENGLAND - JULY 20: Alex Noren of Sweden plays from a bunker during the first round of the 146th Open Championship at Royal Birkdale on July 20, 2017 in Southport, England.

Poulter completed a 70 either side of the 14-minute delay caused by torrential downpours that left standing water on several of the greens, the 41-year-old carding 16 pars, one birdie and one bogey. Not only did that last birdie give him a three-shot lead, no one else was closer than six shots. PHOTO: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images.

Koepka didn't seem to miss a beat from his four-shot victory at Erin Hills, even if he barely touched a club. He had a sole birdie on the front nine but quickly raced to four under with a hat-trick of birdies starting at the 11 hole and appeared to be racing to a low number. Bogey-free, it might have been, but it was a long way from being flawless.

The Georgian was looking forward to watching the afternoon starters "one hundred per cent". "Everybody is happy", said Johnson.

Welsh journeyman Stuart Manley an unlikely British Open leader
Spieth never looked as if he was under any stress, except for his tee shot into the bunker on No. 8. In addition to Spieth, Stone made the cut which allows him to play through Sunday's fourth round.

The 23-year-old former US Masters and US Open victor carded a bogey-free round in tricky, but not treacherous, conditions. "I know there are three other majors, but I truly believe the Open is the top of the list".

"I couldn't have done much better today", he said. "But if we keep on trying to improve each part of the game, stick to the process, then we'll have the results we want".

"When you're out in an exposed fairway and a gust hits you, you're not going to hit a shot until you're settled".

"I think it's been the biggest-selling Open ever and the course, I think, is one of the best tracks in the world". The wind was going to drop maybe five miles an hour, but it was going to get wet.

Swedish Henrik Stenson, taking the title, figure 24 of the ranking (+2) but has not really been able to concentrate on his tournament, the victim of a burglary that occurred at his home Thursday, when he competed on the course, Royal Birkdale.

"There will be nerves, for sure, in the next couple of days but controlling ball off the tee takes a lot out of it", he said.

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Justin Thomas, who started the second round just two shots behind, drove into the gorse on the first hole and took double bogey.

"Well, our last start was a win". I saw a lot of quality out there which was good. Any time you're in the last group on a weekend in a Major, and I think I've had at least a share of the lead in a Major championship a dozen times now, you get nervous.

"But the US Open it was everything but the putter. But I'm excited to get to play again this weekend".

"I wouldn't get your hopes up", Spieth replied. "And a year ago I was pretty caught in 2015".

"Conditions were really hard today, certainly what we expect coming over here", said the Florida-born Kuchar, whose best finish in a major to date is tied third in the Masters in 2012.

That's an ominous statement for the rest of the field to hear with three rounds to play.

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According to the Post , U.S. intelligence agencies intercepted communications between Kislyak and his superiors. Sessions , now the attorney general, at the time was a USA senator and foreign policy adviser to Trump .

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