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Jordan Spieth shows why he's heavily backed at Open

Dustin Johnson moved to five under after driving to the 332-yard par-four ninth but playing partner Jordan Spieth's birdie attempt, set up in more conventional fashion, just brushed the edge of the hole as both turned in 31.

Speith has started the Open Championship brightly. Credit: PA

Streb's 12-foot par save at the 17th allowed him to finish with a six-under 66 and set the new target while Lingmerth, after his front nine equalled the St Andrews record set by Tony Jacklin (1970), Ian Baker-Finch and Paul Broadhurst (both 1990), came home in 40 for a three-under 69.

Johnson holed from close range to move joint top on six under with eight holes - albeit it the more difficult ones - still to play and almost holed his birdie attempt from the fringe of the 11th green.

Spieth, from a similar position, benefited from the read and sank his putt to join his compatriot at the top.

Both could not capitalise on the 348-yard par-four 12th despite Johnson smashing his drive pin-high just right of the green.

American 21-year-old Jordan Niebrugge tied the Old Course record for lowest score by an amateur at the Open with a five-under 67.

David Lingmerth enjoys dream start to Open debut

Sweden's David Lingmerth enjoyed a dream start to his Open debut as benign conditions at St Andrews saw the Old Course taken apart early on.

Lingmerth made a dream start on his Open debut Credit: PA

The 27-year-old Swede, who won his first PGA Tour title last month by beating England's Justin Rose in a play-off at the Memorial Tournament, raced to five under after just six holes having begun his round with four successive birdies.

With a slight breeze coming off the North Sea helping players on the outward holes rather than offering any hindrance, scoring was the easiest it is likely to be all week.

Those out early took full advantage - as well they might as the forecast is predicting they will get the worst of the weather on Friday afternoon.

Another Open debutant, Robert Streb, was also four under through six holes but Thomas Bjorn - playing in his 18th Open at the age of 44 - showed that experience still does count for something as he also got to four under at the turn with four birdies in five holes from the fourth.