South African Brandon Stone got into the Open Championship by virtue of his course-record-setting victory at the Scottish Open last week at Gullane Golf Club. The good fortune that brought on his Sunday round of 10-under par 60 continued on Thursday at the Open as he faced a long second shot into the home hole at Carnoustie Golf Links.
With out of bounds running along the left side of the hole — and creeping in dangerously close to the lefthand side of the green — Stone’s approach from the fescue rough left of the fairway started left and was hooking. Immediately after impact, Stone said he didn’t think it was out of bounds, he knew it was.
Stone said he made a poor swing, but the grass that the ball was lying in also had an effect on the clubface closing down, which launched it much further to the left than Stone had hoped.
Luckily for him, the ball clattered around the grandstand and the patrons and caromed back in bounds, nearly reaching the putting surface. The unlikely par allowed Stone to post a 3-under par 68 to sit two shots back of first-round leader Kevin Kisner.
When you find yourself in deep rough or fescue, Gary Gilchrist recommends a few adjustments to avoid requiring the type of lucky break that Stone got. First, Gary says to put the ball back in your stance to encourage a more descending blow.
Secondly, instead of trying to blast a full shot, he recommends taking more club, opening the face to allow for more loft as well as protect against the club being shut down by the thick grass.
Finally, with a stronger club and descending blow, Gary wants you to hit a three-quarter shot so that you have as much control over the club and contact as possible.