The Open Diary: Gareth Bale has a ball, One Direction star Niall Horan takes a pop at hole-in-one challenge, and bring your own water unless you want to squander £25 for a bottle

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The Open Diary: Gareth Bale has a ball, One Direction star Niall Horan takes a pop at hole-in-one challenge, and bring your own water unless you want to squander £25 for a bottle

  •  Gareth Bale and Niall Horan were spotted enjoying themselves at The Open
  • What’s not enjoyable is forking out £25 for a water bottle or £50 for an umbrella
  • The controversial 17th hole has attracted yet more criticism from pundits 

Brian Harman took a five-shot lead into Sunday’s last round at Hoylake, fending off a superb charge from Jon Rahm. 

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The Spaniard hit a stunning Royal Liverpool record 63 – a round that the two-time Major champion described as his ‘best ever’.

Tommy Fleetwood, who hails from nearby Southport, is the highest-placed Brit at five under and seven shots off the lead.

And Alex Fitzpatrick played the round of his life to score a 65, outshining his brother Matt, who didn’t do too badly himself with a 67. 

Here, Mail Sport’s Ian Ladyman takes you through some of the stories from Hoylake that you might have missed. 

Gareth Bale, a keen golfer, was at The Open. He played with Jon Rahm in January, pictured here

Gareth Bale, a keen golfer, was at The Open. He played with Jon Rahm in January, pictured here

Bale has a ball 

Gareth Bale’s retirement from football has given him more time to enjoy a sport he prefers. The former Tottenham and Real Madrid and Wales star spent the day at Hoylake and duly obliged when spotted by some eager kids on the hunt for autographs. 

Jordan bucks the trend 

The days of players mingling with members in the clubhouse bar after a round are long gone. These days they don’t even use the locker room to change their shoes. 

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Local hero Matthew Jordan has bucked the trend, at least. The Hoylake member has made the effort to say hello to club colleagues after each of his three rounds here.

(Hole in) One Direction

Liverpool’s Albert Dock was once famous for its floating weather map, but this week it is a golf green that has taken centre stage. Among the celebrities having a go at the hole-in-one challenge has been One Direction star Niall Horan. 

The Irishman is a golf fanatic and his ‘Modest! Golf’ organisation have been working with the R&A to grow the game and encourage more young people to play. Horan himself has a more than impressive 8 handicap.

One Direction star Niall Horan is an avid golfer and his ‘Modest! Golf’ organisation have been working with the R&A to grow the game

One Direction star Niall Horan is an avid golfer and his ‘Modest! Golf’ organisation have been working with the R&A to grow the game

Wayne finds his fizz

Sky Sports’ popular on-course analyst Wayne Riley has been wearing jibes about events at the fourth Ashes Test at Old Trafford reasonably well this week. Which is just as well, as there have been plenty of them. 

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Riley, meanwhile, opened the ring pull on a can before pausing for affect. ‘The sound of the Aussie national anthem,’ he quipped. On this occasion, the drink was only fizzy water. 

Short of ideas on how to waste money?  

There are many ways in life to waste money but if you’re short of ideas, head to the Open shop at Hoylake. £50 for an umbrella. £25 for a water bottle. Here’s some advice — bring your own.

A final word on the 17th 

A final word — maybe — on the controversial 17th hole. One TV analyst, who we won’t name, offered this opinion: ‘If you can’t imagine your grandma being able to play it, it’s too hard’. 

The 17th hole: 'If you can’t imagine your grandma being able to play it, it’s too hard'

The 17th hole: ‘If you can’t imagine your grandma being able to play it, it’s too hard’

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