Jordan Spieth drives first hole for eagle at The Open

Zach Johnson takes early lead in British Open

Before heading to the course on Saturday, Spieth went into Carnoustie for what he called "a very British haircut", just as Tiger Woods was rolling back the years with his third-round 66 in front of huge galleries.

That was certainly not true on the 18th, his tee shot seemingly destined to find the Barry Burn only to take a fortunate bounce to the right to stay on dry land. McIlroy was within 2 shots of the lead until bogeys on two of his final three holes for a 70 left him 4 strokes behind.

The last of his 14 majors came at the U.S. Open in 2008. He wound up as close to the lead as he has been in a major since he was two behind at Muirfield in the 2013 British Open.

Johnson, staying in the same house as Kisner, Spieth and four other Americans, hooked his approach on No. 12 and three-putted for a double bogey. Four of them are among the top 11 on the leaderboard going into the weekend with Spieth and Rickie Fowler, who shot 69 and was at 3-under 139.

A bogey was followed by a second at the next when he raced his 25-foot birdie attempt past the hole and could not convert the return. He is even par overall.

Francesco Molinari had a 66 and will play in the third-to-last group with Tiger Woods. And Woods' playing partner sensed an aura around the 14-time major champion.

"I played pretty similar to this at the Players Championship". What is it about Tiger Woods?

"I've made a lot of progress over the year that's been kind of an off year, a building year", said Spieth, who came third at the Masters in April but then missed the cut at the US Open.

Woods didn't say so, but getting the poor end of the starting time draw undoubtedly did not sit well, either, a rub-of-the-green scenario that did not favor him this time: the toughest conditions on Thursday and rain throughout his round on Friday.

First, Justin Rose set the tone with a stunning 64.

He looked revitalised here at Carnoustie and began his charge with a birdie at the fourth and picked up another shot at the sixth.

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Fleetingly, Woods grabbed a share of the lead with a birdie at the 15th, but dropped back again at 16.

He still made bogey.

Even discounting the weather, the victor will need to get through Carnoustie's closing four holes, which have scarred the cards of virtually every player in the field.

Jon Rahm got himself to three under par early in his second round but then endured a horrific run that included dropping five shots in three holes from the seventh to the ninth holes.

"Even this week, there's 156 guys in the field, and there's probably over half of them that have a realistic chance of winning this golf tournament, " he said.

Kisner, Spieth's housemate this week on Angus coast, has led or shared the lead after each round this week and hasn't shown any signs of fading like he did at last year's PGA Championship, when he started the final round with a one-stroke lead only to close with a 74 to tie for seventh place. His low ball flight, grinding nature and good putting give him the right ingredients.

Typical of his first full season since 2015 because of back surgeries, the challenge is more the number of players in front of him than the deficit he faces. That makes Reed even par for the championship, six shots behind.

He's got 18 holes to make a move, 18 holes to make a statement.

But at least he's still playing.

Spieth walked to the tee with coach Cameron McCormick and asked him, "How about I just send it on No. 1?"

Rose began by smashing driver into the left rough, although he was able to hit wedge to 6 feet for birdie.

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