Open Qualifying: Andersson fury after replayed hole costs Swede two shots

Last updated at 21:38 03 July 2007

Memories of the farcical scenes at the 2004 US Open came flooding back at Sunningdale today when play was suspended in the Open Championship qualifying event.

Eight European Tour players were caught up in controversy over the positioning

of the hole on the fourth green of the Old Course, with Argentina's Ricardo

Gonzalez five-putting and Australian Brett Rumford four-putting after hitting

his tee shot to two feet.

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Fredrik Andersson Hed

The same had happened on the eighth hole in the final round at Shinnecock Hills

in New York two years ago, but this time officials reacted differently.

Open Championship committee chairman Martin Kippax immediately confessed to

making a mistake and then took the decision that the hole would be re-positioned

and the eight affected players would play it again.

Amid fury at Shinnecock the scores all had to stand, with Kevin Stadler hitting

a two-foot putt into a bunker and fellow American Jerry Kelly commenting: "When

are the USGA (United States Golf Association) going to grow a head?"

Not told until the end of their opening rounds of the 36-hole event the eight

were then taken in buggies back to the fourth tee to try again - with very

different results.

Swede Fredrik Andersson Hed was furious because after a par three the first

time he double-bogeyed and so had to change his four-under-par 66 to a 68.

"I think the European Tour should do the pins," he said. "Every time I've played in an event run by the R&A (Royal and Ancient Club)

there have been one or two that were barely playable."

England's Richard Bland was far from happy either. He birdied the first time

after being 18 inches from a hole-in-one, but then took three and so went from

72 to 73.

The happiest, though, was Gonzalez. Instead of a triple-bogey six he parred and

with a three-under 67 was the early leader on the course.

Bland, from Southampton, said: "It's not rocket science not to put the flag

where it was. Anything with a small bit of speed that didn't go in was going to

roll off the green, as I saw with Ricardo.

"Because I'd made a two I asked if I had to play it again and was told


Kippax said: "I chose the pin positions because of the weather we've had and

the forecast we had for today. The chance of thunderstorms meant that I chose a

place where we would hopefully be able to continue play.

"I tried to be sensible about it, but there are limited options on the fourth.

The safest place is in a hollow and absolutely the place where there would be

ponding, so instead I chose a place that was within a foot of where it was last


"I was then made aware by a referee on the course that we had a potential

problem. I went out and saw that it was in an unplayable position.

"So, after consulting with various people, certainly the European Tour, I

suspended play and moved the pin position.

"I admit it was a mistake and the responsibility lies on me and me only. One

option was to start again completely, but we are on a tight schedule with 36

holes in one day.

"Some players had played seven holes when the decision to move the hole was

taken and asking them to play 36 plus those seven again seemed to me to be too


"I apologised to the eight and Richard Bland said it was not in his interests

and asked: 'Why was it there in the first place?'

"They were perfectly justifiable things to say, but I told them it was only

going to be equitable if everybody had to play it again whether it's good or bad

for them."

A 120-strong field is competing for 12 spots at Carnoustie in two weeks' time.

Last year's Ryder Cup captain Ian Woosnam returned from his illness lay-off

with a 69.

"My legs are tired and with another round yet I'll be knackered tomorrow,"

said the Welshman, who has not completed an event all year because of post-viral

fatigue syndrome.

He has also entered for this week's European Open and next week's Scottish


Nick Dougherty, seventh at last month's US Open, fired a six under 64 on the

Old and shared top spot at the end of the first round with Portugal's

Jose-Filipe Lima.

The number of qualifying spots had been increased from 12 to 16. That had

nothing to do with what happened on the fourth hole, but it could help Andersson

Hed after he added a 68 on the New to be early leader in the clubhouse on four


Based on the scoring in the first round, however, six under was the predicted

cut-off mark - and so his two extra shots could well have cost him.

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