PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland (Reuters) - Former champion David Duval came within one shot of matching the highest single-hole score at a British Open when he ran up 14 strokes at the par-five seventh during the opening round at Royal Portrush on Thursday.
Duval’s bizarre hole included three lost balls as well as a two-stroke penalty for playing a wrong ball.
After his first two tee shots were lost in Portrush’s punishing rough, his third was located by a marshal, or so Duval thought.
But upon hacking the ball to the green the 2001 Open champion realised it was not his ball after all, which meant he incurred a two-stroke penalty and had to return to play his own ball.
That’s when it all got really complicated.
The 47-year-old American, a former world number one, could not locate that ball from his third tee shot, so he had no choice but to return to the tee and play his ninth shot.
“I’m at fault. I didn’t take a close enough (look),” he said after signing for a 20-over-par 91, the worst score of the day.
“It was fairly unsettling, obviously. I came in here with fairly high hopes.”
If Duval’s head was spinning at the way he played the hole, it was also a mental battle trying to figure out how many strokes he had taken.
It was reported that Duval had taken 13 or 15 shots, before officials determined the correct number to be 14.
“He played six shots in completing the hole with the fourth ball from the tee,” the R&A said in a statement.
Only Herman Tissie, with a 15 at Troon’s par-three Postage Stamp in 1950, has taken more strokes to negotiate a hole at an Open.
Reporting by Simon Evans; Writing by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, editing by Ed Osmond