Open organizers took emergency action overnight after the first-round sandstorm as they attempted to repair flat-bottomed bunkers that forced balls to run to the edges of vertical faces.
Greenstaff was deployed to bring the concave floors back to the traps by building up the edges of the bunker, allowing the balls to roll towards the center of the hazards. It was almost an unprecedented act, although the R&A claimed it had not been an unusual setup.
“We would like to inform you of an adjustment we have made to the way bunkers were raked overnight,” a statement read.
“Yesterday afternoon the bunkers dried up more than we have seen in recent weeks and that led to more balls directly to the face than we would normally expect.
“So we raked all the slightly different bunkers to get the sand up a rung on the rivet on the face of the bunkers. We routinely rake flat bunkers at most open sites, but decided this adjustment was appropriate given the drier conditions that occurred yesterday. We will continue to monitor this closely. »
The pros disagreed that it was business as usual. Matthew Jordan, the 27-year-old who grew up playing on the Wirral links, was stunned.
“I’ve never seen bunkers like this,” he said. “I don’t know who annoyed the greenkeeper, but yeah – they’re so flat and they’re so penalizing. You just can’t hit it in any bunker.
Rory McIlroy left his third shot in the greenside bunker on the 18th after trying to play it aside but had a nice escape for a par, while Phil Mickelson took a bogey triple eight after falling to the sand during the latter par five, while Justin Thomas made a nine.
The biggest casualty was Taichi Kho, who after seven bogeys on the front nine was one under on his back nine heading for the final hole.
Kho left his third in the bunker, then his fourth and turned to hit his fifth. He walked into the rough fescue and from there he fought back into the same bunker. Then his seventh went back into the fescue but from there he found the green and putt twice for a 10.
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