Standing water in bunkers problem for players

By Doug FergusonJuly 20, 2012, 11:03 pm

LYTHAM ST. ANNES, England – Keegan Bradley thought the closest water hazard at Royal Lytham & St. Annes was the Irish Sea about a mile away.

He found one Friday on the 15th hole.

Any other day, this would be called a pot bunker. But after a summer of endless rain in England that pushed the water table to its limit, it only took about a half-inch of rain overnight to fill the bottom of bunkers and turn dozens of them into small ponds at the British Open.

''I had no choice but to play it,'' Bradley said.

He wasn't alone.

Phil Mickelson had to take relief from a bunker just short of the first green. Rory McIlroy's ball was submerged.

''I guess you just have to treat them as if they've got stakes around them,'' said Geoff Ogilvy, who hit into a few pot bunkers in the fairway that were relatively dry. ''You probably should treat them like that, anyway, because they're pretty much a one-shot penalty, anyway.''

Bunkers are considered hazards, so Bradley's only other options were to take a drop from casual water no closer to the hole – this would have taken him to the back edge of the sand and hit a shot with his feet outside the bunker – or take full relief on the grass short of the bunker with a one-shot penalty.

He felt as though his best chance was to blast away at half-submerged ball. It was reminiscent of Bill Haas last year at the Tour Championship, when he hit a shot out of the water on the second playoff hole at East Lake to 3 feet for an unlikely par and went on to win the $10 million FedEx Cup. That moment was not lost on Bradley's caddie, Steve Hale, who handed him a sand wedge and said, ''Just do what Bill Haas did.''

Bradley didn't hit it that close, though it was a far tougher shot and he did well to splash it out to about 20 feet to escape with a bogey.

Two holes later, it was McIlroy's turn. His ball was under water, but instead of taking a penalty stroke and dropping it in the fairway short of the bunker, he went to the back of the trap. Trouble is, when he made the shoulder-high drop, it plugged slightly on the down slope.

''I was hoping it wouldn't plug and maybe have a chance to get it on the green,'' McIlroy said. ''But when it dropped, it plugged, and I just had to play it out sideways.''

McIlroy's undoing came from another bunker short of the par-3 ninth green, when he took two to get out and made double bogey. He wound up with a 75, likely ending his hopes of winning the claret jug.

Ogilvy said the worst of the bunkers was along the closing stretch, which is the closest to sea levels. Tom Watson, playing in his 35th British Open, knows these links courses better than anyone else in the field. Lytham always has been a little different.

''I don't see this piece of property being 40 feet of sand, like some of the other links courses and links land that we play on,'' Watson said. ''You see a lot of mud out in the compounds over there. So it's not as sandy as other courses, therefore it doesn't drain very well in certain places. It doesn't surprise me. Some bunkers are fine. They drained some of the bunkers, and some of the bunkers they didn't.''

Lytham is renowned for its bunkers – all 206 of them. It also has a history of weather. Remember, Seve Ballesteros won the British Open here in 1988 on a Monday because rain left so much water on the course that the final round was postponed.

Crews were using squeegees Friday morning just to allow spectators to walk, instead of swim, onto the grounds. Players still had to tiptoe around puddles in the fairways. Otherwise, the course was in reasonable condition, courtesy of the links soil that drains well.

Lytham, like the rest of England, has had its fill of rain, however. And there was nothing that could be done with the bunkers. Bradley estimates 90 percent of the traps had water in them, most of them around the greens.

''I hit it in a lot of bunkers today, and I only saw water once – on the first hole,'' Mickelson said. ''And I tried to look at every bunker and see what they looked like.''

The Open is not the only major with bunkers as water hazards, though it's rare. Golf course workers often can siphon out the water and rake up the sand to make it playable. But these aren't ordinary bunkers. They're deep with steep walls, much like a miniature swimming pool.

''A few of those bunkers there are kind of a little bit of a question mark,'' Graeme McDowell said. ''But we're lucky that we're playing. The golf course is on the edge of unplayable.''

He felt some of the bunkers should have been declared as ''ground under repair,'' which would have allowed for free relief.

''I saw one in particular left of the 16th green,'' he said. ''If you hit it in there, there's nowhere to drop and there's a foot of water. That's not golf. It's not fair.''

In the U.S. Women's Open at Newport Country Club in 2006, one of the bunkers filled with water was declared out of play. That wasn't the case at Royal Lytham. Then again, the bunkers are supposed to be hazards.

These certainly were.

''A lot of bunkers out there are pretty much out of play,'' Branden Grace of South Africa said. ''That was the main goal for myself today, to stay out of them.''

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Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”