Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Fleetwood Aiming to Halt US Charge

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Fleetwood Aiming to Halt US Charge

Article excerpt

HOUSEMATES Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner set the pace in the 147th Open Championship as Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy headed the European bid to end American dominance of golf's majors.

Johnson, who is looking to become the first player in history to win major titles at Augusta, St Andrews and Carnoustie, added a 67 to his opening 69 to set the clubhouse target on six under par.

First-round leader Kisner looked set to surpass that with ease when he birdied the 13th and 14th to reach eight under, only to hit his second shot to the 18th into the Barry Burn and run up a double-bogey six.

That meant Fleetwood was just a shot off the lead after earlier defying miserable conditions to card the only bogey-free round of the day, his flawless 65 just two shots outside the course record he set in last year's Dunhill Links Championship.

Americans Pat Perez and Xander Schauffele were alongside Fleetwood on five under, with McIlroy joined on four under by last year's runner-up Matt Kuchar, Tony Finau and the South African duo Erik van Rooyen and Zander Lombard.

Johnson won the Masters in 2007 and the Open at St Andrews in 2015 by beating Louis Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman in a play-off, but came into the week firmly under the radar.

"I don't know who is managing the radar. It is irrelevant to me," said the 42-year-old, who is sharing accommodation at the Open for the third year in succession with Kisner, defending champion Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Jimmy Walker, Jason Dufner and Rickie Fowler.

"Maybe I'm just overly conservative and boring and that's perfectly fine. I just like to compete. It doesn't matter where it is, what it is. Just give me an opportunity."

Kisner and Fowler are the only housemates yet to win a major, but Kisner insists it is not an intimidating situation.

"I learned that everybody's going through the same stuff and trying to shoot the lowest score possible and everybody puts their pants on the same way I do," the 34-year-old said. …

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