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Pre-Open trip to Inverness was so useful for Reed

Golf-British Open - Patrick Reed of the U.S. lines up a putt on the18th green during the first round - Royal Troon, Scotland, Britain - 14/07/2016. REUTERS/Craig Brough
Golf-British Open - Patrick Reed of the U.S. lines up a putt on the18th green during the first round - Royal Troon, Scotland, Britain - 14/07/2016. REUTERS/Craig Brough

By Tony Jimenez

TROON, Scotland (Reuters) - American Patrick Reed's decision to spend a week of reconnaissance at the Scottish Open yielded a handsome dividend as he sprinted to the top of the leaderboard early in the British Open on Thursday.

Assisted by an outrageous eagle two at the third hole of the first round, the world number 13 signed for a five-under-par 66 on a relatively calm, sunny day at Royal Troon.

Reed finished in a share of 10th place at the Scottish Open and his links experience in the wind and rain of Inverness seems to have proved beneficial.

"I think it was really important," the 25-year-old Texan told reporters. "I wanted to come over and play and it was one of those things that I felt like it was normal Scotland weather.

"This is not normal today. To see the sun I felt like it was a lot easier than what I had to deal with all last week and it kind of allowed me to be a little more aggressive with iron shots into the greens."

That did not appear to be the case on the first hole, though, as Reed snap-hooked a four-iron off the tee way left.

He recovered to save par before sending his second shot into the heart of the green at the third and watching the ball disappear into the cup.

Reed said his approach stroke at the first was the one that made his juices start to flow.

"I had 139 yards to the green and hit a really solid five-iron to pin high and I felt like that right there, that one shot, kind of got me going," he said.

"To have the exact same number at the third from the fairway, I already knew what to do. I didn't see how it went in but after watching the TV screens I think it two or three-hopped into the hole."

The last six Troon Opens have been won by Americans but Reed is not getting ahead of himself and is more concerned with the rain and strong winds forecast to arrive on Friday.

"With how competition is these days it doesn't really matter where you're from or anything like that," he said.

"The main thing is to stay with my game plan because the odds of me going out and eagling three ... are rare."

(Editing by Gareth Jones)

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