Mo­men­tum Savers

Two deft shots to keep your round go­ing

Golf Digest (Malaysia) - - Contents 09/17 - BY JOR­DAN SPI­ETH, 2017 BRI­TISH OPEN CHAM­PION

Two deft shots to keep your round go­ing.

You’re go­ing along play­ing well, and then the wheels start to rat­tle. You hit some loose shots and three-putt once or twice, and now it feels like an­other mis­take will end your round. You can tell your­self to stay calm, but in th­ese sit­u­a­tions you can con­trol your mind only so much. Some shots, like very dif­fi­cult green­side re­cov­er­ies, add ten­sion. You just have to power through, try to get ex­cited about the idea of play­ing the per­fect shot. Two hole outs that led to wins for me this sum­mer— from be­hind the 10th green at Royal Birk­dale at the Open Cham­pi­onship and from a front bunker on the first play­off hole at the Trav­el­ers—are times I pulled it off.

When my op­tions are lim­ited, I’m usu­ally hit­ting lob wedge. What helps my con­sis­tency is that I hit a flop shot very sim­i­lar to how I hit a stan­dard green­side bunker shot. I open the club­face and cut across the ball with loose, fast wrists, let­ting the club­head slide past my hands. The best bunker play­ers have sev­eral spe­cialty shots, but mas­ter­ing just two de­vi­a­tions from your stan­dard sand swing will serve you well. I rec­om­mend the “chunk-and-roll” and the “nip-spin­ner.” Prac­tice th­ese to build the nerve to stick them when it counts. They can save your day.

Pho­tographs by Wal­ter Iooss Jr.

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