From US Open, Johnson, Spieth carry battle to St. Andrews

Jordan Spieth stumbled on the infamous Road Hole on the 17th but Dustin Johnson cruised like a well-oiled machine in benign weather when there was not a whisper from the winds on the opening day of the 144th Open Championships at the Old Course. Johnson ended his day with a bogey free seven-under 65, equaling his best ever start in a Major, while Spieth after reaching six-under at 11th, finished at five-under with seven birdies and two bogeys.

Johnson’s 65 was two shots off Rory Mcilroy’s 63, the best-ever opening round at the Open, which also came at St. Andrews in 2010. It was also Johnson’s second successive Major in which Johnson opened with a 65 – he did the same at US Open last month. He has a stellar record at the Open, finishing outside Top-14 only once in last five starts, including second in 2011.

Reminiscent of their great final round US Open battle, where Spieth pipped Johnson at the post, the two were paired together again.

Johnson showing no ill-effects of the three-putt on the 72nd, which cost him the US Open was four-under by the fifth with two birdies and an eagle on par-5 fifth. He turned in five-under and did not falter as he added birdies on 10th and par-5 14th and through the first day he stayed out of the bunkers.

Spieth was off the blocks with birdies on first two holes and turned in five-under as both stars fed off each other with amazing golf in excellent conditions and stayed off the bunkers. Spieth dropped his first shot on par-4 13th and then another on the 17th, when he finally went into Hell Bunker. But the 21-year-old Texan, winner of Masters and US Open quickly made up with a 20-foot birdie on 18th for a 67.
V Krishnaswamy

V Krishnaswamy

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