2022 British Open: ‘Some doozies’: Players face pin locations they’ve never seen before on Old Course

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland — Tyrrell Hatton won along the Old Course, dominating in the 2016 and 2017 Dunhill Links Championship, which uses the Old Links as host among its three-course rotation.

He does not know if this will give him an advantage this weekend, given that the course is very different in October than in July. But he knows one thing: if the fans attending the Dunhill had played the Old Course on Friday, they could be there until Saturday.

“Have you seen any of these pins? During Dunhill week, during amateurs, it would be like 9 hour rounds. It would be brutal,” Hatton said after shooting 6-under 66 to enter the clubhouse at 8 under par.

Mark Calcavecchia, the 1989 Open champion, was turning 31st and last start at the Open this week. Friday was his 100e round in this championship, and the 62-year-old says he managed to experience a first.

“There are hole locations I’ve never seen here, and I’ve played a lot here,” he said. “There are doozies.”

This, however, was not a case of the superintendent being disagreeable. This was to protect an almost defenseless golf course. With overnight and early morning rain, combined with little wind, the Old Course was there for Round 2. All it could do in its battle against the modern game was to be as inaccessible as possible. .

“The R&A set it up with some pretty tricky pins, some new ones. It made it a little harder,” said three-time Open champion Tiger Woods, who shot 75. “Obviously a lot harder for me than the others.

Although there was plenty of red on the board on Friday, no one in the early groups shot better than 65 and Cameron Smith had the lowest score of the day, a 64. There was no threat of 59. Good play was rewarded and the layout held up.


Complete scores from the 150th Open Championship


Talor Gooch, who shot 69, said the pin locations were “really, really tricky.” Henrik Stenson, the 2017 Open champion who shot 70 on Friday, echoed that, adding: “There are some pins that are even more difficult or trickier, I think, than what we’ve seen in the past.”

Especially?

“[No.] 12, for example, I don’t think we’ve seen it this far down the shelf. There’s not much around it,” Stenson said.

“I thought 12 was pretty juicy today,” Hatton said. “[No.] 16 is also interesting. It’s kind of a cup on top of a bowl. Even Joaquin [Niemann], where he was starting from, had a tiny bit of pace, but suddenly he’s to the left of the pin and he has a 20ft(er) for par. So maybe it’s a bit risky.

When conditions are calm on the Old Course, risks can become a necessity.

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