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After bunkers wreak havoc, R&A adjusts raking for Round 2 of Open


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 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.

“I hit a 4-iron into the fifth hole today, and it pitched on top of the bunker and came back in, and I thought it was going to be – I didn’t know at this point that they’d made that little gradual rise up into the face – and when I got up there I was pleasantly surprised that I had a shot,” McIlroy said. “I wouldn’t say there’s one person in the field that wouldn’t welcome that change.”

On Thursday, 37 players found one of the five greenside bunkers at No. 18 and just 10 managed to make par (27 percent). By comparison, the PGA Tour average for sand saves this season 49 percent.