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  Friday, 21 July, 2000, 20:20 GMT 21:20 UK
Welcome to Hell
Bernard Langer
Bernard Langer has had little luck with the sand
St Andrews' notorious Hell Bunker is a sight to behold, but in such fair conditions, only the very careless are finding themselves in the Hades of the Old Course.

At first sight, St Andrews' Hell Bunker would strike fear into even the best sand players.

The face of the monstrous 14th hole trap is twice the height of any man and it is wider than some golf clubs' fairways.

But as frightening as Hell truly is, in as benign conditions as those experienced by the players so far during the millennium Open, it rarely comes into play, especially given the distance the modern professional strikes the ball.

In two-and-a-half hours on Friday, only Bernhard Langer and Steve Webster found themselves in its furnaces, mainly due to poor shots off the tee.

Langer drove into one of the Beardies on the left of the fairway and could only nudge his second a few yards further on.

Nightmare

He was left with a long third shot to carry the Hell Bunker, but, unfortunately for the German, his effort lacked the required power and his nightmare began.

His ball flew straight into Hell and, worse still, nestled only a few feet from the bunker face.

Already facing at least two dropped strokes, Langer opted for the safest option of playing out backwards.

Given the trap's history - Jack Nicklaus, among others, has bad memories of Hell - that was also the wisest option.

Jack Nicklaus
Jack Nicklaus: Bad memories
Langer went on to make a double-bogey seven to take him back to level par for the Championship.

No such problems this time round for Nicklaus though. The Golden Bear, playing in probably his final Open Championship, steered well clear of his old adversary, as did his playing partners.

In the next group, Colin Montgomerie and Davis Love III easily cleared it - indeed, in the fair conditions, many players were on the green in two.

Seve found a novel way of avoiding Hell by playing up the adjacent 5th fairway, and although it was unlikely to have been an intentional tactic, he had a reasonable angle from which to approach the green.

Vijay Singh was in trouble at the 14th, but it had nothing to do with Hell.

Slice

He sliced his drive right, landing over the wall and out-of-bounds and playing three off the tee, he eventually made a double-bogey seven.

Steve Webster found to his cost that the old adage that it is better to be safe than sorry often rings true.

He found the rough on the right of the fairway with his drive and his attempt to lift his second shot over Hell failed as the ball shot straight into the bunker face.

Webster was slightly more fortunate than Langer had been, though, and on reaching the trap, he found his ball about eight feet from the bunker face, leaving him a relatively 'easy' shot out onto the fairway. With a bogey six, Webster will feel he got off lightly.

If, as is forecast, the wind gets up slightly over the weekend, many more players could find themselves at the mercy of this most unforgiving of bunkers.

The Open at St.Andrews
20th - 23rd July
See also:

20 Jul 00 | The Open
19 Jul 00 | The Open
20 Jul 00 | The Open
Links to more The Open stories are at the foot of the page.


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