Kuchar content to watch Open rivals toil


Matt Kuchar conceded he was relishing the opportunity to relax and watch his Open Championship rivals struggle in windy conditions after completing his second round at Royal Birkdale.

The American teed off on Thursday morning with a share of the lead and seized it outright with a birdie on the fourth.

He also led by one with three to play, but bogeyed the last to sign for a 71 - leaving him one stroke shy of Jordan Spieth and Brooks Koepka.

Kuchar's compatriots will head out in worsening weather and the 39-year-old was looking forward to seeing them toil.

"I think that's one of the cool things over here, whether it's Thursday or Friday, whatever your morning round is, getting to go back to the room, put on the TV and watch the guys play in the afternoon, and particularly in tough conditions," he said.

"I think that's kind of what we know about The Open and I think that's what people enjoy about the British Open is watching the hard wind, the rain, the guys just trying to survive out there.

"Today is my day. I get to kick back in the afternoon and watch the guys just try to survive is pretty much all you can do."

The strength of the wind was most apparent to Kuchar on the par-three 12th, when he lined up his tee shot way left of the target.

He explained: "I think [the 12th] was playing about 162 yards. Wind was in off the left. I pulled five-iron.

"There's a hill right of the green with nasty, weedy grass that you just don't want to be in. So I must have aimed 30 yards left of the pin into the crowd, hit a shot, started at the crowd, and stayed at the crowd for a long time before finally the last, I'd say, 20 yards started drifting over, and ended up in the middle of the green.

"I feel like if there was no wind it would have gone dead straight; it probably moved 30 yards. It's really tricky, really trying to try to figure out."

Zach Johnson appeared to make light of it, though, as the 2015 champion carded a remarkable 66, which seems unlikely to be beaten.

After going five over through six holes in his opening round, Rory McIlroy got to one under for the championship by the end of his second to move into contention.

But several big-name players may miss the cut, with Phil Mickelson eight over for the tournament through 16 and Jason Day finished close to the likely cut mark on five over.

Reigning Claret Jug holder Henrik Stenson resumed on one under, alongside co-leader Spieth.