Spieth prepares to defend lead in British Open

Jordan Spieth (Getty)
Jordan Spieth (Getty)

Southport - Jordan Spieth defends a two-stroke lead in the British Open when he goes out in the third round at Royal Birkdale later on Saturday. 

The American shot a 69 on Friday in miserable weather conditions to sit at six under par and lead the championship by two strokes from his compatriot Matt Kuchar. 

Spieth, 23, is looking to win a major for the first time since he claimed the Masters and US Open titles back to back in 2015. 

He handled the rain and wind well on Friday afternoon to build on a flawless opening round of 65 to equal the lowest ever 36-hole score in an Open at Birkdale, matching Craig Stadler's effort in 1983. 

Kuchar, along with Brooks Koepka, had shared the lead with Spieth after the opening round and posted a respectable 71 earlier on Friday to move to four-under for the championship.

The tall 39-year-old has never won a major, with his best performance coming at the Masters in 2012, when he ended in a tie for third place. 

That duo go out in the final pairing at 16:55 on Saturday. 

Just before them, Koepka will go out with England's Ian Poulter at 16:45. Both players sit on three under par. 

Scotland's Richie Ramsay is on two-under, while Rory McIlroy (-1) was another of only nine players to stand under-par for the championship at the halfway point. 

A dry and bright morning in Southport greeted the players starting their rounds early, as large crowds poured into the course. 

The forecast is for sunny spells to continue before rain becomes a possibility from 16:00, just after the leaders go out. 

The first player to start his third round on Saturday morning was South Africa's Shaun Norris, playing alone after scraping inside the cut mark on five over par. 

Behind him were popular English duo Tommy Fleetwood - a Southport native - and Justin Rose, who came fourth at Birkdale as a teenage amateur in 1998
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