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The 151st Open

'It's a great hole'


First impressions of 'Little Eye'

Tee shot on the 17th

You know a hole is good when a man walks away after a triple bogey talking about how great it is.

So it proved for Little Eye, the brand-new par-3 at 17 at Royal Liverpool, which ended up being the undoing of Lucas Herbert among others.

The Australian was enjoying a fine round until he got to the 136-yard par-3, where failure to hit the green can result in disaster.

Herbert is testament to that, missing left, then finding the bunker with his second on his way to a six. In an instant he fell from three-under to level par, but Herbert was not about to blame the hole.

He said: “I could have told you there would be carnage. I could have predicted it for you. I think it's a great hole. There's no wind. It's a gap wedge and you can make a two pretty easily, but that wind gets going and you can't really feel it too much on the tee. It becomes a really tricky shot.

“I saw the group behind me. Someone else came off the front of the green in the front bunker. Our group all missed the green. It's not easy. “It felt like there was about 5,000 professional golfers sitting around us in the stands watching it. But it's just not easy.”

Travis Smyth struggles on 17

Herbert took comfort that he was not the only person to struggle at Little Eye. Phil Mickelson saw his round tarnished by landing in the bunker to the left of the green and chipping out into the bunker on the right on his way to a five.

There were also triple bogeys for Alex Fitzpatrick and Zach Johnson but 21 players managed a birdie – Russell Henley the first to do so.

Perhaps the most important was Emiliano Grillo, who got to within six feet from the tee and made no mistake before an altogether more difficult birdie putt on 18.

The Argentinian shares the lead after day one and as the action continues at Royal Liverpool, the importance of the 17th will surely only increase.

As Herbert warned: “I don't think I'll be the only one to run up a big number.”

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