Leaders tee off in 3rd round of British Open

The four-time major victor repaired some of the damage with a birdie on the par-five fourth, but promptly bogeyed the next to fall back to level par and 10 shots off the pace.

The wind had shifted overnight to out of the west, putting it from left to right on the inward nine.

With the wind picking up, Spieth bogeyed nine and 10.

While Spieth laboured, compatriot Phil Mickelson - who was among the early starters - remained at the summit amid pressure from Henrik Stenson.

The first round of The Open Championship did not go well on the greens for two-time major titlist Jordan Spieth. But that doesn't mean the questions are unfair or even unique to him. I personally think Spieth needs to grow up a little and relax. "I don't think that did anything to it". I'll still be okay. "But I would appreciate if people would look at the positives over comparing to maybe hopefully what would happen to me a few times in my career, a year like last year".

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Spieth had the opposite problem of touching the ball too often with his putter at Troon, adding: "I'm hitting the ball great, I'm just really struggling on the greens this week". I'm struggling to read them and then, because of that, I have a tough time hitting a nice, solid putt on a line and being confident about it.

He was not alone. He duly generated something a stir too, yesterday, in making the most telling move from among the chasing pack by picking up three shots on the outward half, before a triple bogey seven at the dreaded 11th hole nearly certainly ended his challenge once and for all. Three birdies were not enough to keep his score from ballooning to seven over. But his falter at the Masters, coupled with showings at Oakmont and Royal Troon where he never challenged the lead, have raised doubts on the status of Spieth's game.

He has since picked up two more birdies, on the fourth and the sixth, but they bookended another dropped shot at the fifth to see him make the turn in one-over-par 37, for a one-under-par total.

The only player in Friday's afternoon draw to break par was world No. 1-ranked Jason Day, at 1 under. The Australian had four birdies going out but after four bogeys coming home, his chance of a second Major triumph is evaporating.

Elsewhere, Pádraig Harrington is two-over-par through 12 holes and is two-over for the tournament, Darren Clarke carded a two-over 73 and is now three-over for the tournament and Graeme McDowell is two shots further back on five-over after a 72 today.

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