Top 10 Bunker Shots from Royal Birkdale
Getting excited about The 147th Open at Carnoustie already? So you should be!
And as a little festive indulgence we took a look back at the best bunker shots from The 146th Open at Royal Birkdale in July of this year. It was Jordan Spieth of course that claimed the Claret Jug, but does he make it into our top ten from the sand?
10. Adam Scott
The first of two entries for the Australian former world No.1. The first was on the 17th and his third shot at the par-five hole and a perfect example of a textbook bunker shot. A nice firm stance and a full follow-through on the swing that covered the 20 yards and left Scott just inches from the hole for a simple birdie.
9. Charl Schwartzel
This incredible shot could’ve topped the whole list had Schwartzel holed it. A difficult long bunker shot with a ridge to avoid that added further complication at the 1st hole, Schwartzel punches the ball low to avoid wind. Travelling at pace, the ball lips out of the hole rather than dropping in, so close to perfection for the 2011 Masters Champion.
8. Adam Scott
Captured superbly on bunker-cam on the fourth - you can see Scott – an Open runner-up back in 2012 at Lytham St Anne’s – bury his feet in the sand for extra purchase, clubface pointing to the sky. The man from Adelaide is an absolute wizard from the sand with his wide, smooth swing giving him his second appearance in our top ten as the ball rolled right up to the flag, leaving the formalities to be done with his next shot.
7. Ian Poulter
A miraculous effort from the colourful Englishman on an extremely tough bunker shot, 35 yards out and with the wind blowing hard at the 8th hole (?). Poulter takes a good few inches of sand behind the ball and gets all the necessary height and spin required to come inches away from sinking this beauty in an impressive second round of 70. That left Poulter in a tie for third place the midway stage at Royal Birkdale although in the end he would finish tied for 14th.
6. Stuart Manley
The Welshman’s first round had gone well up until this point, one over at the 17th, but it got so much better with this excellent display of bunker work. A delightful chip that hopped over the lip and seemed laser-guided down the slope from right to left to go in for an impressive eagle three.
And with a birdie at 18, Manley was in the clubhouse with a 68 on Thursday.
5. Phachara Khongwatmai
What a shot! The 18-year-old – playing The Open for the second time – approaches this effort on the 12th with all the youthful exuberance you might expect from one so young. Khongwatmai keeps his height in the shot but keeps the ball low, almost caressing it up the hill and finding dead-middle on the hole.
Then Englishman burst onto the scene at The Open in 2016, finishing in a tie for fifth at Royal Troon. One year on, it was not quite such a fairytale for Hatton who missed the cut after carding a 75 and a 76 at Royal Birkdale. But in his second round, on the second hole, he had something to smile about. In danger of back-to-back bogey’s – the young Englishman got loads of height and even more spin, scooping the ball out of danger to delight crowds and get his round back on track.
3. Brooks Koepka
Another quality shot on the 17th that saw Koepka join Jordan Spieth at the top of the leaderboard in the first round. The 2017 US Open winner – playing his first tournament since that major success – judged this one to perfection. Keeping the ball low and reading the gradient of the hill perfectly, Koepka popped the ball in for an eagle three and one for the memory banks.
2. Richie Ramsay
Only 12 yards from the hole but at such a steep angle nobody saw this one coming at the 17th on Sunday. Sometimes at three over for your round, you’ve just got to throw caution to the wind and that’s just what Ramsay did with his ball plugged under the front lip. A full-blooded swing got the ball up and over the ridge and landed it in just about the only spot where he had a chance of holing it. From there, it was just a gentle roll downhill straight into the hole – a simply stunning shot from the Scotsman.
It’s the Australian who tops the lot and gets our vote as the best bunker shot from Royal Birkdale in 2017. If it had not been for a disastrous Friday where he shot 76, the 34-year-old would have been well in contention for the Claret Jug at Royal Birkdale. Leishman finished like a train on the weekend, shooting 65 and 66, but it was his heroics on the 7th on Sunday that stand out. Thirty yards out and with the Australian seemingly needing divine intervention – he pulled a wonder-shot from nowhere, escaping the bunkers, clearing the mound – with the ball backing off in the nick of time to nestle in.