Prior to the start of the Open Championship at St. Andrews, tournament organisers made a change to the famous Road Hole Bunker on hole No. 17, making it the most difficult hole in tournament history. The hole was so difficult that not a single player had a birdie in the opening round and 65% of the golfers shot bogey or worse.
While the pin is no longer behind the bunker in the second round, it still takes away the previous strategy of missing the hole to the left. Now, players must either play the ball short, on to the lower level of the green, or they have to risk rolling off the back of the green and on to the road, which is in play.
Adding to the treachery of the hole in the second round is the wind which is blowing across the hole from right to left and it is blowing hard.
While there have been a handful of birdies in the second round, the par-4 hole is still playing to a 4.7-stroke average and more than 60% of the golfers are still scoring bogey or worse.
Enter Phil Mickelson.
On his second shot, Mickelson had about 200 yards left to the hole. He wants to play a low line-drive and keep the ball under the strongest winds which are blowing above the grandstand. The strength of those winds can be seen in the flags.
He hit it perfect.
Mickelson couldn’t help but smile. Even the caddie for Henrik Stenson was impressed.
Here is another angle that shows just how low the shot was.
Phil still had about 20 feet left for birdie and he went on to par the hole. But on the Road Hole, par is pretty good and his approach shot was even better.
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