HOYLAKE, England – A day after Royal Liverpool’s bunkers took a toll on the game’s best players, the R&A altered its maintenance plan to soften some of the edges.
The R&A announced Friday that many of the layout’s 82 bunkers have been raked to create a concave that should keep balls from regularly nestling up against the face of the bunker.
Full-field scores from the 151st Open Championship
“Yesterday afternoon the bunkers dried out more than we have seen in recent weeks and that led to more balls running straight up against the face than we would normally expect,” the R&A said in a statement. “We routinely rake bunkers flat at most Open venues but decided this adjustment was appropriate in light of the drier conditions which arose yesterday.”
There were countless examples of golf balls rolling up against the face of bunkers and leaving players few options, but the most high profile came late during Round 1 when Rory McIlroy was forced to play an awkward shot with one leg out of the bunker at the 18th hole.
On Thursday, 37 players found one of the five greenside bunkers at No. 18 and just 10 managed to make a pair (27 percent). By comparison, the PGA Tour average for sand saves this season 49 percent.