ST. ANDREWS, Scotland — After days of nitty gritty prep, the Open is lastly right here. The calm, pleasant observe rounds are over. The gauntlet of 72 holes on a agency, baked-out Previous Course begins within the morning.
All week, gamers have studied St. Andrews, eager to study some secrets and techniques in regards to the centuries previous golf course. Tiger Woods practiced long-putting 4-irons up by the Valley of Sin, nestling to only a few ft. Shane Lowry spent one spherical with simply his wedges, circling the sixteenth inexperienced from 5 yards, then 15 yards, then 40. He might need the very best arms within the sport, however typically the contact is earned on Tuesdays.
Collin Morikawa, your defending champion, is attempting to drag off the identical, profitable tools change he made final yr when he received at Royal St. George’s. He’s put away the 5-wood he performs at most Tour stops and is instituting the 2-iron. St. Andrews appears as agency because it’s ever been. “The fairways are extra agency than the greens,” R&A CEO Martin Slumbers mentioned Wednesday.
One space of specific concern at a agency and quick observe is the rollout areas. After all, the Previous Course’s 112 bunkers loom. However the tough that splits among the out-and-back design has the potential to be simply as important. Take the tough left on 16, for instance. Scottie Scheffler isn’t too afraid of it, set to bomb driver the place many others are hitting lay-up irons. Scheffler hit an ideal drive into the green Wednesday, then scooped his ball and threw it into the hay. He thinks he’s extra more likely to find yourself there, so he spent 10 minutes hitting approaches from it. All of them got here out softer than he hoped, in need of the inexperienced.
The tough on 17 is simply as intriguing. It appears like there are magnets embedded within the thick stuff, attracting tee photographs. Scheffler hit two in there Wednesday afternoon, attempting to dial in his most popular line off the tee. Upkeep staffers have truly been watering the tough for weeks, because it appeared to skinny and wispy in mid-June. So some spots of the tough might be greener, thicker and more durable to hit from. Morikawa discovered all about that Monday afternoon, when he chunked his strategy on 17 simply 30 yards ahead, staring down puzzled on the lie.
Up on the inexperienced, the enjoyable form of prep work performs out. Sam Burns, Sepp Straka and Scheffler all tried bellying golf equipment onto the inexperienced from the pavement on the well-known Highway Gap. Scheffler left his tries brief, Straka cooked his lengthy. Burns was a bit extra light and used the again of the bunker to ease his ball again towards the Sunday pin place. Will he use that information this week? He may. It might be in the course of the closing spherical. That’s why you place the work in.
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