LYTHAM ST. ANNES, England - The world’s elite will find a much changed Royal Lytham & St. Annes when they pitch up for this year’s Open Championship. This Royal Lytham will have more teeth than the course David Duval tamed back in 2001.
Nearly 200 yards - 181 to be precise - have been added to the Royal Lytham links for this Championship, and players will be expected to play it one shot better than they did 11 years ago. Lytham will measure 7,086 yards to a par of 70 this year compared to the 6,905-yard, par-71 layout Duval conquered to win his only major.
“It’s not revolutionary in length, but it does bring Royal Lytham up to modern standards,” said R&A chief executive Peter Dawson. “Royal Lytham has always been a good challenge but these changes will make it a stiffer test.”
The most significant changes come on Nos. 2, 3, 6, 7, 10 and 11.
The second hole has been lengthened by 43 yards, turning it into a demanding 481-yard, par-4 beast. It requires a carry of 265 yards to carry the first fairway bunker. Not a huge carry by today’s standards, but difficult if it plays into the wind. That was the case in last year’s Lytham Trophy when the tee was moved up, but elite amateurs still found it difficult to make the 220-yard carry.
Twenty yards gave been added to the par-4 3rd hole, taking it to 478 yards. New mounding has been added to the left side and two new bunkers have been constructed on the right, making the tee shot much tighter.