Open Championship Diary: Bunker proves the bogey as Kevin Kisner charge comes unstuck

By Kevin Markham

Shot of the day

Rory McIlroy, after showing his frailties with short putts, knocked in a 40-foot eagle putt on 14. It put him into the joint lead.

Justin Rose hit the flag on 14 and almost had an albatross. He then hit a laser-straight shot on 18 where he made birdie. He birdied the 18th every day – that has to be a record, doesn’t it? – including on Day 2, which saw him scrape into the weekend… nine shots off the pace.

Molinari’s approach on 17 was superb. It was a two iron into the wind and he hit it closer to the pin than anyone else that we saw. The 17th, at 460 yards, was the second hardest hole on Day 4 and it was brutally tough.

Moron of the day

The spectator who decided to roar at Tiger on the 18th tee, just before the 14-time Major winner hit his drive.

Somehow, Tiger hit a beauty.

Highlights… or lowlights

BBC Highlights. First off, show us the highlights. Endless recaps of the previous day’s play are a waste of time. 

Next: Ken on the Course has become a parody of what used to be a fun segment. Now it’s cringeworthy. And let’s not talk about the music that introduces it… Magic Roundabout anyone! Maybe the BBC’s thinking is that they have to go in the completely opposite direction to Sky, with Ken drawing on pieces of paper and using giant rubber arrows to show wind direction.

Compare this to the discussion in Sky’s Open Zone with Denis Pugh about how Francesco Molinari’s swing has changed in the search for additional power. It was fascinating, insightful and enjoyable to watch. The BBC don’t have much money and perhaps they think ‘Ken on the Course’ is quirky and embraces that ‘old school’ charm but really it’s just the BBC going backward.

Disaster of the day

One of the fascinations of the final day of the Open is to see who charges on or who crashes out. On Sunday there were two early casualties.

Kevin Kisner had played almost flawless golf for three days but he came undone at the second hole in one of its 10 bunkers. He failed to get out and ended up in a worse lie, just inches from the bunker face. He thrashed at the ball and got it out a few yards. He played a good recovery and then hit the flag with his 5th… but a double bogey six proved costly, and he followed it with a poor bogey on the third. 

He did recover but the damage was done. 

Tommy Fleetwood found the bunker on the par five 6th, played a short recovery shot and then flashed his third out of bounds. He made a double bogey which followed a bogey on the 5th. Perhaps more telling was the double bogey by Tiger Woods on 11, when he had just taken the outright lead for the first time. He played three poor shots in a row and it undoubtedly cost him a real shot at the Claret Jug.

Quotes of the day

“That’s links golf summed up there with those two shots,” said Paul McGinley after Woods and Molinari landed their drives in almost the exact same place on the par five 6th, with Molinari’s ball bouncing into a bunker. “Woods’ ball kicks right and misses the bunker and he can get home in two, and now Molinari’s going to struggle for par.”

And so it was, with Woods making birdie and Molinari making a fighting par.

Tache of the day

Gone was the face fuzz. In its place was a sharp horseshoe moustache that was veering into Fu Manchu territory. Yes, Rickie Fowler looked more like an extra in a Spaghetti Western than an Open Championship. Sadly, in the end, he played only a bit part in the final day’s drama.

“Oh my word, did you see the moustache on him,” said Rich Beem after Ricki teed off on the first. “You get the sense he might have lost a bet”

Despair of the day

Rory McIlroy. Putting… Achilles Heel. If he could putt from five feet he’d have won the Open comfortably. And that’s not the first time this has been said about him.

Best news of day

Tiger’s back.

The winner

Francesco Molinari has improved his putting no end. Over the four


he took 28, 27, 27 and 29 putts, with the final round 29 an outstanding performance in the windy conditions. Out of the golfers in the top 10, his Fairways Hit were actually second worst on the final day, at 40%, with only Kisner’s 27% being worse. In total, over the four days, Molinari had one double bogey, seven bogeys and 17 birdies.

Technology of the day

A marshal was so engrossed in his mobile phone that he didn’t notice as the winner, Molinari, walked straight past him…

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