Big Play: Stricker's tourney-saving bunker shot
WHO: Steve Stricker
WHAT: 17-yard bunker shot to 11" for a par save
WHEN: Final round of the Memorial
WHERE: 184-yard par-3 12th hole at Muirfield Village
In the final round, Stricker tore up the front nine, and then held on to win by making three terrific sand saves on the back nine. The best of the three came at 12. After hitting his tee-shot into the back-left bunker, Stricker's ball was near the back lip and on a downslope. From this awkward position, Stricker dug his feet into the sand and crouched down a bit. He landed the ball in the rough, and the ball rolled through the fringe and onto the green, where it curved from left to right and trickled down to the hole.
When the ball is below your feet in a bunker, the hardest thing is getting low enough at address and then staying low enough so you don't hit a thin shot. In abnormal situations such as these, I like to adjust the set-up so I don't have to make an adjustment during the swing to make a clean hit. With the ball below the feet, bend over more at address and lower the upper body to compensate for the ball's unusual position. Then make a normal swing. Be sure to maintain your balance, so your body doesn't sway or lift up or down during the swing.
Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Jim Murphy teaches at Sugar Creek Country Club in Sugar Land, Texas.