American golfer Jordan Spieth lines up a putt on the 18th green during the first round of the British Open. REUTERS pic.

SOUTHPORT: World number three Jordan Spieth shot a flawless five-under-par 65 to take a share of the clubhouse lead at the British Open in the first round on Thursday.

Spieth, who won the Masters and the US Open in 2015 and is still only 23, had five birdies, including two in a row just before the turn, and no bogeys to position himself at the top of the leaderboard.

He is not alone, though, with reigning US Open champion Brooks Koepka also shooting 65.

In his case, the only blip came with a bogey at 16 but he promptly recovered with an eagle at the long 17th.

That duo are two shots ahead of England’s Ian Poulter, who had a 67 on his return to the venue where he came runner-up in 2008, and the American Justin Thomas.

Lurking at two-under are Japan’s world number two Hideki Matsuyama, Sweden’s Alex Noren, the world number nine, and Welshman Stuart Manley, the 38-year-old making his debut at a major championship.

On a good morning for Europeans, England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick, Belgium’s Thomas Pieters and defending champion Henrik Stenson of Sweden all fired one-under-par rounds of 69.--AFP

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