Bubba Watson got off to a magnificent start Thursday at the British Open with five birdies in his first six holes, but he gave three strokes back after hitting his tee shot at the 123-yard par-3 8th hole in the one spot you don’t want to land – the coffin bunker.
The Postage Stamp is Royal Troon’s most famous hole, and while it’s short, the par-3’s defenses are treacherous. Watson’s shot landed on the left edge of the deep coffin bunker to the left of the hole, which for any right-handed player would have meant playing out backwards. In a practice round earlier this week, Rory McIlroy needed six shots to escape the bunker, but Watson blasted his ball out and over the green into some deep rough.
Needing to hole out just for par, Watson misplayed his third shot out of the rough and left it just a few feet from where he stood after the ball rolled back down the bank. Watson finally found the green with his fourth, then two putted to card a triple bogey six. Watson went on to bogey the 11th, dropping from 5-under and a share of the lead to 1-under in a three-hole span.