Royal St Georges goes longer and lower for the Open

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The Independent Online

The Royal St Georges course will be just over 100 yards longer for this year's British Open, with par being reduced from 71 to 70.

Organisers said yesterday that the famous fourth hole – with a huge bunker staring players in the face as they tee off – is being changed from a 497-yard par five to a 495-yard par four.

The third hole will be increased by 30 yards to 240 yards, while the seventh goes from 532 to 564 yards and the ninth from 388 to 412 yards. The 15th will be stretched from 475 yards to a 496-yard par four.

Eight years ago, the American winner Ben Curtis was the only player to break par at the course, and only by one shot.

The previous time it hosted the British Open, in 1983, Greg Norman set the championship record of a 13-under 267.