British Open makes strange bunker changes after first round loss

HOYLAKE, England – If you watched the first round of the British Open, you saw a lot of carnage in the Royal Liverpool bunkers.

There are 82 of them on the golf course and, prior to the 151st Open, the R&A, which oversees The Open, leveled the sand surfaces of the bunkers.

Because of this, in many cases, the balls would stop at the base of the bunker walls and make it nearly impossible for even the world’s best players to get out of them.

After a large number of players made a terrible lie near the steep surfaces of the bunker walls in Thursday’s opening round, tournament officials ordered that sand be pushed against the walls to create more climbing conditions to keep players out. Get a better chance to get out. Them.

It was an odd move to make the cut after the first round rather than after the second round, but it was done on a Friday morning as golf course crews worked furiously on the bunkers on the Friday morning prior to the start of the second round .

Rory McIlroy hit his third shot outside the bunker on the 5th hole.
Getty Images

“We would like to advise you of the adjustments we have made to the bunkers to be arranged overnight,” a message from the R&A read on Friday. “Yesterday afternoon the bunkers dried out more than we have seen in recent weeks and this resulted in more balls being hit straight in the face than we expected. So we rake all the bunkers a little differently to get the sand up to a rivet on top of the bunkers.

The biggest crash on Thursday came from Taichi Kho on the 18th hole, where he holed his third into the bunker, and then turned back to hole his fourth and his fifth.

He got into Facebook and from there he came back to the same bunker.

Justin Thomas of the United States hits a bunker shot on the 18th hole on day one of The 151st Open
Justin Thomas was one of 82 sand trap victims at Royal Liverpool.
Getty Images

Then his seventh went back to the facebook but found the green there and two-putted to 10.

On Thursday the 18th, Rory McIlroy missed his third shot into the greenside bunker after trying to play sideways, but somehow came up with a par.

Phil Mickelson took a triple-bogey eight on 18 after hitting a greenside bunker and leaving his first attempt in the sand.

Shortly before, Justin Thomas hit a bunker to another bunker on 18 and scored a nine.

Phil Mickelson plays out of a bunker on the 18th green on day one of the British Open Golf Championship
Phil Mickelson plays out of a bunker on the 18th green.

So, overnight, the green staff began work on building up the sides of the bunker to have the concave floor back into the netting, allowing balls to travel back into the center of the hazards.

Several players said that flat-bottom bunkers were not common.

27-year-old British Matthew Jordan, who grew up playing at Royal Liverpool, said, “I have not seen bunkers like this at all. I don’t know what angered Greenkeeper, but they are flat out and they are very punitive. You can’t hit it in any bunker.”

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