CON­NELLY FIN­ISHES WITH TWO BIRDIES

The Denver Post - - SPORTS -

SOUTH­PORT, ENG­LAND» Austin Con­nelly is mak­ing a name for him­self at this year’s Bri­tish Open.

Just not to Jor­dan Spi­eth. Con­nelly birdied his last two holes for a 4-un­der-par 66 on Satur­day, leav­ing him six shots out of the lead and in the penul­ti­mate group with U.S. Open cham­pion Brooks Koepka.

The 20-year-old Texan, who plays un­der the Cana­dian flag be­cause of dual ci­ti­zen­ship, earned one of 15 spots from the 36-hole qual­i­fier on links cour­ses in Bri­tain two weeks ago. And he’s clearly not spooked by the big stage at Royal Birk­dale.

Spi­eth has known Con­nelly for sev­eral years, and they share the same swing coach in Cameron Mccormick.

Still smil­ing. Hen­rik Sten­son will prob­a­bly leave Royal Birk­dale on Sun­day with­out the claret jug he has en­joyed caring for much of the past year.

He’ll be mi­nus some valu­ables and clothes, too, af­ter a bur­glar broke into the rental house he had this week­end in South­port.

Sten­son, who won last year in a bril­liant duel with Phil Mick­el­son, was 3-un­der for the tour­na­ment, eight shots off the lead. He said he has had a great week de­fend­ing his ti­tle, de­spite the theft of his be­long­ings.

Poul­ter’s re­gret. Ian Poul­ter was the only player in the cur­rent top 28 who was over par Satur­day on an ideal day for low scor­ing at Royal Birk­dale. And he wasn’t happy about it. Poul­ter took four ques­tions from re­porters af­ter his 1-over 71. All of the re­sponses were brief, and two were in­ter­spersed with curse words. He then took to Twit­ter to apol­o­gize for his play.

Div­ots. The fifth hole was short­ened to 310 yards to en­tice play­ers to go for the green. Rickie Fowler hit a driver that missed go­ing in by a few inches. Fowler, how­ever, made pars over 14 holes and man­aged a 67.

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