Follow Speith, McIlroy and Woods around Carnoustie

SLC native Tony Finau stays in hunt at British Open with even-par 71 Friday at Carnoustie Golf Links

Kevin Kisner put a mediocre links record aside and surged to the first-round lead with a 5-under 66 at the British Open at a fiery fast and baked-out Carnoustie on Thursday.

Rory McIlroy, seeking a first major title since 2014, was part of a large group on two-under which also included Spain's Jon Rahm, world No.2 Justin Thomas, 2015 victor Zach Johnson and the English pair of Danny Willett and Matthew Southgate. "They're all great people".

"If I just clean up those two holes and play them the way I'm supposed to play them, I think I'd probably have the best round in the afternoon wave".

He grew up close to another major championship which awards its victor a Green Jacket instead of the Claret Jug up for grabs this week but as much as he loves the Masters he would take an Open victory without any complaints.

It looked like such a promising round for Spieth, who was 3 under par as he teed off on the 15th, but he hit his opening effort into the fescue and then plugged his next shot in the most troublesome pot bunker on the hole. The best part of his day on Thursday?

But although the 14-time major victor visibly winced after hitting his opening tee shot, that appeared to be the result of getting some dust from the dry ground in his eye and he went on to make an ideal start with a birdie from 10 feet. The 29-year-old has also finished no higher than 29th in his past three Open Championship appearances, but turned in a second-place performance in 2014.

The 2015 runner-up ended the day six strokes off the pace and will battle forecast rain when attempts to revive his hopes on Friday.

U.S. Open champion, Brooks Koepka, who, along with Dustin Johnson, proclaimed he would hit driver often in an attempt to power past the hard fairway bunkers, went out in 41 and then turned it on and came home in 31 to finish at one-over.

Even Scottish playing partner Russell Knox, who briefly stole the American's thunder with a superb eagle on the 14th, later described his hero Woods as a "mythical" figure.

No course is overly long for the powerful Finau, who averaged almost 350 yards off the tee, mostly with irons.

"I'd like to have three really good rounds and see if I can come out on top this week".

"It would be very special to me", Koch said.

"Good start and bad finish. I've been doing this for years, braces and bandages, just that this time it's actually visible", he said. "Back nine obviously wasn't what I was after".

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