RICHARD Bland enjoyed the best day of his career with a stunning opening round at The Open Championship.

The Southampton golfer is tied for sixth at Royal Birkdale after finishing his opening 18 holes on a three-under 67 - thanks to three successive birdies on the back nine.

Stoneham star Bland, 44, is only two shots off the lead, which is shared by the American trio of Brooks Koepka, two-time major winner Jordan Spieth and Matt Kuchar.

The 65s of Ryder Cup team-mates Spieth and Koepka equalled the second lowest first round score in an Open at Birkdale, a shot outside Craig Stadler’s record of 64 set in 1983.

Paul Casey is the leading Englishman on four under, while Ian Poulter is tied with compatriot Bland one short behind.

Bland is bang in form after finishing second at the BMW International Open in Germany last month, finishing just one shot behind Andres Romero.

The world No. 145 is playing at The Open for the first time since 1998, also at Royal Birkdale, Southport.

He tees off at 3.30pm tomorrow.

1. Brooks Koepka -5 (65), Matt Kuchar -5 (65), Jordan Spieth -5 (65). 4.Paul Casey -2 (66), Charl Schwartzel -2 (66). 6. Richard Bland -3 (67), Rafael Cabrera-Bello -3 (67), Austin Connelly -3 (67), Charley Hoffmann -3 (67), Ian Poulter -3 (67), Justin Thomas -3 (67).