IAN POULTER has warned Jordan Spieth he will go ‘toe to toe’ in the battle of Birkdale.
Brit Poulter had to qualify — but is now just three shots behind The Open leader after carding a second-round 70.
American Spieth shot 69 to sit six under as he chases golf’s biggest prize.
But Poulter said: “I’ll go toe to toe with anyone this weekend. I’m in a good frame of mind. The confidence tank that was empty a few months ago is starting to fill up again.
“And I like it when it gets full up. I play my best golf when I’m confident.
“I’m in a bonus week — I qualified for The Open. I’m loving it, I really am.
“I haven’t played a Major for a while but my game’s coming back to form.”
Another American, Matt Kuchar, is one shot ahead of Poulter on four under.
The Open 2017 – Round two recap
JORDAN SPIETH leads the way on six under par – thanks in part to a “gross” shot that led to an eagle.
The two-time Major champ hit a sliced approach into the par five 15th and converted the putt to reach seven under.
He bogeyed the next and parred in to add a one under 69 to his opening 65 and sit two ahead of fellow American Matt Kuchar.
US Open champion Brooks Koepka is alongside Ian Poulter in a share of third on three under.
And Scot Richie Ramsay is fifth on two under, one ahead of a group of players including Rory McIlroy and England’s Richard Bland.
But Poulter, 41, flew the flag on a day when many of the top Brits crumbled in brutal weather.
Driving rain and wind caused play to be halted temporarily because the greens were flooded.
Poulter can become the first English Open champ since Nick Faldo in 1996.