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The Open 2021: Sun, sea and golf and the challenge of playing in gusty wind, unforgiving rough and blind shots

Golfers, nevertheless, are much less so certain — at the very least once they’re playing hyperlinks golf.
The Open golf tournament is often staged on programs situated close to the sea in the UK, which often consist of sandy soil and are formed by pure terrain.

After a superb first spherical at the 2021 Open, Jordan Spieth was relishing the probability he has to check himself at the Royal St George’s course in Kent, UK.

However, different golfers are much less satisfied by the delights of playing golf by the sea.

“It’s not my favourite venue that we have performed. There are fairly a couple of blind tee shots, hitting to nothing, fairways which can be fairly undulating,” stated four-time main winner Brooks Koepka in his pre-tournament press convention.

Koepka plays his second shot on the 1st hole.

Links golf is a harsh, distinctive model of course which might punish you for the slightest mistake, however a bit like that ice cream by the sea, whenever you sport comes collectively and you get issues proper, life simply appears to style that little bit sweeter.

Often constructed on sand dunes, hyperlinks programs are likely to have little vegetation besides tall, thick grass which makes up an unforgiving rough for gamers.

Between the lengthy, dense rough and the robust sea wind, the most minute mistake can result in calamity, with numerous gamers’ match hopes coming to a crashing finish over the years.

PGA Championship winner Phil Mickelson thought he “was playing effectively coming into” this yr’s Open having solely lately turn into golf’s oldest ever main winner.

Mickelson plays a shot from the rough on the 12th hole at Royal St George's.

However, in Thursday’s opening spherical, the 50-year-old Mickelson completed in joint final place of the 156-man subject after capturing a 10-over-par 80.

Despite carding arespectable two-over par rating on Friday, Mickelson struggled persistently together with his driving, always having to play out of the thick rough. He missed the minimize on Friday and was due to this fact dominated out of playing the Open’s final two rounds.

The six-time main winner admitted after his spherical on Friday that he was having some “challenges staying sharp.”

The “bomb and gauge” method tailored by fellow American, Bryson DeChambeau — one which has introduced him his maiden main victory and shot him up the golf rankings — was additionally challenged by Royal St George’s.

The 26-year-old DeChambeau admitted his driver “sucked” on Thursday and his waywardness with the membership meant he solely made the minimize by the pores and skin of his tooth, and his struggles continued on Saturday.

Louis Oosthuizen plays an approach shot on the 16th hole during day two of The Open at Royal St George's.

Adapting

The Open’s leaders after the first two rounds — Louis Oosthuizen, Collin Morikawa and Jordan Spieth — have used their expertise with their irons quite than counting on their drivers and it has paid dividends.

All three gamers have remodeled 77% of the greens over the first 36-holes of the match as they mitigated the risks and traps of the hyperlinks course.

With an Open already to his identify, Spieth appears appears like a child excitedly queuing for an ice cream as he showcases some totally different expertise right here in the UK than he may on the PGA Tour.

“It brings rather a lot of the really feel side into the sport,” he informed the media after his first spherical. “I shorten swings up over right here, and hit extra punch shots, and stuff that I most likely needs to be doing at house. You get much less swing-focused and extra shot-focused over right here as a result of the second you are taking your mind off the shot you are hitting, you might not discover your ball.

“Instead of only a driving-range shot in Palm Springs, there’s all the time some shot it’s a must to play that provides you a bit bit of a bonus. Certain membership alternatives, based mostly on should you hit a fade or a draw, they go 15 or 20 yards totally different distances. To sum that up, there’s only a lot of exterior elements over right here, and I feel that exterior is the place I must be residing.”

Spieth plays his second shot on the 7th hole at Royal St George's.

The second-round heroics of Morikawa — looking for to turn into the first man to win each the PGA Championship and the Open on his debut — was totally on the again of his wizardry together with his irons; his dead-eye accuracy negating the pure issues the hyperlinks course gives up.

It’s but to be seen whether or not Spieth or Morikawa can overcome the lead Oosthuizen held at the begin of Saturday, however all three males are testomony that to overcome a hyperlinks golf course, a golfer must have all the instruments in the software bag.

The query now could be who can be celebrating with the Claret Jug — the Open trophy — and who know possibly even a gelato come Sunday?

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