THE secret of Luke Donald’s “shot of the day” at the Open Championship has been traced to a back garden in St Andrews.
The former world number one, who has a Scottish father but plays for England, managed get out of the notorious Road Hole bunker with one shot during his round today.
Golf fans speculated that the feat could have plenty to do with the fact the garden of his temporary home in St Andrews has a replica of the bunker.
Donald is understood to be renting the property in Howard Place for the duration of the Open at a nightly rent well in excess of £360.
But the price is well worth it as most of the back garden is given over to an inch-perfect replica of the bunker widely regarded as the toughest in the world.
Luke, 37, posted a shot of the replica bunker earlier in the week. “Someone is really taking their bunker game seriously! This is awesome! #StAndrews #TheOpen #RoadHoleBunkerInYourBackGarden.”
And after his remarkable escape from the real thing during the first round, fans claimed he must have been practising in the back garden.
AnthonyH1875 asked: “@LukeDonald been practicing in the road hole bunker in your garden?”
Sandy Wilson added: “Judging by the shot you just played out of the Road Hole bunker I reckon you snuck into the garden last night.”
The bunker is a trap on the 17th hole at the course, and countless professional golfers have seen their dreams of winning the championship squandered after getting stuck.
Top Japanese golfer Tsuneyuki Nakajima was in contention at the championship in 1978 until he putted into, and took four attempts to escape from, the Road Hole bunker.
Following his attempts, the bunker was nicknamed “the Sands of Nakajima”.
Yesterday, Luke freed the ball with one clean stroke and went on to finish the first round with a score of 68 – 4 under par.
The owner of the property, who asked not to be named, confirmed earlier this week that a “top ten” golfer was renting the house.
She said: “We use the house as well as high-end golfers who come and stay.
“It is currently being rented by someone who is in the top ten.
“The garden does have an exact replica of the Road Hole bunker – you’ll struggle to get out of it.
“We only allow plastic practice golf balls to be used in the garden – we don’t want any real balls flying into other houses.”
The luxury property, situated in the centre of the golfing town, is just five minutes from the Old Course.