How He Hit ThatAugust 13, 2015

How He Hit That: Rory McIlroy's shallow water rescue

Some scratchy play was to be expected from tournament-rusty Rory McIlroy, but he probably didn't expect to find himself playing a half-submerged ball from a water hazard Thursday.

McIlroy sailed a long approach shot on the 589-yard par-5 fifth left of the green into a beachy bit of sand surrounding a pond. Half the ball was sticking up from the water, so McIlroy rolled up his pant leg and blasted a shot out to 12 feet. He rolled in his par putt to stay even par on the day.

"Most players don't realize that you can hit pretty much any ball that isn't completely below the water like a bunker shot, but with a few adjustments to your setup," says Golf Digest Best Young Teacher Jason Guss, whose academy is based at Hawk Hollow Golf Club in Bath Township, Michigan. "It's actually not a super hard shot."

Start from a normal open bunker stance, but play the ball just ahead of center and keep the face relatively square. "If you open it too much, the clubhead will skip off the water and you'll blade it," says Guss. "After that, it's the same as a bunker shot. The only hard thing about it is committing to blasting into the water and not flinching because you're about to get sprayed."

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