Def. champ Stenson grouped with Spieth at Open

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SOUTHPORT, England – The R&A announced Monday the first- and second-round groupings for the 146th Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.

Here are some of the featured groups (all times Eastern):

4:47 a.m. Thursday, 9:48 a.m. Friday: Jordan Spieth, Henrik Stenson, Si Woo Kim

Stenson hasn’t won since his record-breaking performance last year at Royal Troon, though he does have 11 top-10s worldwide. Spieth, who hasn’t played since his thrilling victory at the Travelers, has just one top-30 in four Open appearances. Kim, The Players champion, is making his Open debut.


4:58 a.m. Thursday, 9:59 a.m. Friday: Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Louis Oosthuizen

Thomas started strong at last year’s Open, but he faded the rest of the week and tied for 53rd. Rose tied for fourth at Birkdale as an amateur in 1998, but he tied for 70th when The Open was last held here, in 2008. Oosthuizen, the 2010 champion, missed the cut last year after his playoff loss in 2015.


5:09 a.m. Thursday, 10:10 a.m. Friday: Brooks Koepka, Tommy Fleetwood, Hideki Matsuyama

Koepka hasn’t played since his major breakthrough at the U.S. Open. He will be paired, once again, with Fleetwood, the local product with whom he spent the weekend rounds at Erin Hills. Matsuyama followed his tie for second at the U.S. Open with a tie for 14th at the Irish Open.  


8:04 a.m. Thursday, 3:03 a.m. Friday: Sergio Garcia, Jason Day, Zach Johnson

Garcia, the Masters champion, has finished in the top 30 in all five starts since Augusta, including a tie for second in his most recent start, at the BMW International Open. Day was the runner-up at the Byron Nelson in May, but he enters this week off consecutive missed cuts. Johnson, the 2015 champion, tied for fifth last week at the John Deere.


8:26 a.m. Thursday, 3:25 a.m. Friday: Rickie Fowler, Adam Scott, Paul Casey

Fowler has played in a late-Sunday pairing each of the past two majors, and he arrives at Birkdale with four top-10s in his last five starts. Scott has made all but one cut at The Open since 2003, including top-5s from 2012-14. Casey tied for seventh here in 2008.  


9:48 a.m. Thursday, 4:47 a.m. Friday: Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Charl Schwartzel

DJ hopes to correct a recent trend, as he hasn’t played the weekend at a major since last year’s Open. He missed the cut at the PGA, didn’t play the Masters and missed the cut at the U.S. Open. McIlroy also enters The Open in a bit of a lull, after missing his second consecutive cut last week at the Scottish Open. Schwartzel has finished in the top 20 in five of his last seven Open appearances.


9:59 a.m. Thursday, 4:58 a.m. Friday: Jon Rahm, Patrick Reed, Lee Westwood

Rahm rolls into Birkdale after his dominant victory at the Irish Open. He tied for 59th in his debut last year. Westwood is seemingly always in the hunt at the year’s third major, with four top-5 finishes, but he hasn’t been better than 64th in two starts here. Reed, meanwhile, missed the cut last week at the Scottish Open to end his run of four consecutive top-20s.