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SPANISH OPEN

Tour pro at Spanish Open fails to get second shot beyond member’s tee after hitting drive only 50 yards

October 07, 2022
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Ashun Wu of China plays his second shot on the 16th hole during Day 2 of the Spanish Open after hitting his drive only 56 yards.

Stuart Franklin

We’ve all been there. You just don’t expect a touring professional to become one of us. At least, not like this.

Ashun Wu, a 37-year-old from China, made eight birdies Thursday during an opening-round 63 at the Spanish Open at Club de Campo Villa in Madrid.

But Friday was a completely different story. Wu started out on fire, making three consecutive birdies on Nos. 2-4 and then another on the eighth hole to vault into contention. But then things got weird with seven holes remaining.

Wu began to struggle. Wayward drives on the 12th and 13th holes resulted in double bogeys on both. He did make birdie on the par-5 14th hole and parred the 15th.

Then, it happened. Wu hit a drive high and right off the par-4, 448-yard 16th tee that hit a tree and the ball bounced straight down into nasty, thick rough. The ball only traveled 56 yards, according to the DP World Tour website.

Wu was still so far away from the fairway and, considering that lie, he didn’t believe he could reach it, so he opted to essentially chip the ball onto the member’s tee, which was only another 40 yards ahead. He executed the shot beautifully but was still 350 yards from the pin.

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Screenshot of Wu's scorecard with statistics of the par-4 16th hole.

The 224th-ranked player in the world, finally able to play his third shot from the short grass, hit it 282 yards into the fairway, but then hit another poor shot for his fourth, chipped it to 12 feet for his fifth shot and, of course, made the 12 footer for double-bogey 6, this third double in a five-hole span.

There was a bounce back of sorts. Wu hit his tee shot to four feet on the par-3 186-yard 17th hole and made birdie, then closed with par to shoot 39 on the back and one-over 72 on the round. He’s tied for 16th place, only five shots behind leaders Paul Waring and Stephen Gallacher.