'BE AGGRESSIVE' Behind Kuchar, there is a gap to Canada's 20-year-old Open debutant Austin Connelly and current US Open champion Brooks Koepka, who are both on five under par.
Spieth nearly aced the par-3 14th, then made eagle on the par-5 15th and further birdies on 16 and 17 to leave his playing partner and Ryder Cup teammate shell-shocked after a decisive three-shot swing. If he can win the US PGA Championship at Quail Hollow next month he will become the youngest ever player to win the career Grand Slam, surpassing Tiger Woods. Given new life, he holed a 50-foot eagle putt and turned to caddie Michael Greller and said, "Go get that!"
He joins only the great Nicklaus as having won three different majors before the age of 24, an astonishing feat by the Texan, who is coached by Australian Cameron McCormick.
He took bogey while Spieth calmly two-putted, finishing the job with a tap-in and hugging his caddie Michael Greller, whom he credited with keeping him rolling through the difficulties of the front nine today.
"The putt on 13 was just massive", Spieth said.
Spieth finished the tournament with a birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie flurry to be crowned Open champion.
"I definitely feel like today was an opportunity lost to get right in the mix going into tomorrow", McIlroy said.
"It's kind of a dream come true, you know", he said.
"I believe Matt Kuchar will win a major championship".
He made birdie at each of his last four holes.
Spieth then uncorked one of the wildest drives in Open Championship history, sending a shot 80 yards to the right of the fairway that came to rest on the back side of a 40-foot tall grass dune.
And without the Claret Jug.
"And I thought that was important to look back on and think I didn't have my best putting stuff, which is normally what has won me tournaments, but I was still able to close the deal and I've taken that into this year". And to have a chance to make history and win a championship.
"It's crushing. It hurts".
The two-time major winner's first bogey in 21 holes came after he found a hard lie in the rough off the first tee, pulled his second into the crowd and failed to get up and missed a 15-foot par putt.
But the day - and the famous Claret Jug - belongs to Spieth. Just his belief, when I know him so well, just fed over a bit.
China's Haotong Li introduced himself to American golf fans Sunday by firing a 7-under 63 to finish third at 6 under.
"All you can really do is sit back, tip your cap and say, "Well done" and it was certainly a show that he put on".