Kevin Kisner took the early lead at the 2018 British Open on Thursday, shooting five-under 66 in wonderful conditions. Justin Thomas and Tiger Woods had excellent starts to their rounds, however, and could challenge for the top spot later in the day.
Defending champion Jordan Spieth continued his struggles with a round of one-over 72, suffering a late collapse after a bright start.
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Kisner dropped just a single shot, a bogey on the fifth, and more than made up for it with an eagle on the sixth to move one-under.
He would add another birdie on the front nine but put his solid score together on the back nine with a run of three straight birdies. While he found the green just 50 percent of the time in regulation, his putter was on fire, and he needed just 22 putts to complete his round.
The American seemed relaxed after his round, perhaps an indication of where his mind is at right now:
Spieth birdied the second and fourth holes to get his day off to a great start, but a collapse late on the back nine left the defending champion with a big challenge to overcome.
He started the 15th with a score of three-under but would card a double bogey, bogey, par and another bogey to complete his round and leave himself well behind the leader.
He made no excuses, blaming his poor finish on a "brain fart," per the Evening Standard's Phil Casey:
"The problem [on 15] was on the second shot. I should have hit enough club to reach the front of the green, and even if it goes 20 yards over the green, it's an easy up and down.
"That's what I would consider as a significant advantage for me, recognising where the misses are, and I just had a brain fart and I missed it into the only pot bunker where I could actually get in trouble, and it plugged deep into it.
"It was a really, really poor decision on the second shot and that cost me."
Thomas bagged three birdies on his way to a score of three-under on the front nine, and Woods birdied two of his first four holes.