This crafty pro has been putting from bunkers — and he’s in contention

Yes, that's a putter.

DP World Tour

Scottish pro Ewen Ferguson discovered a cheat code of sorts during a practice round at this week’s Porsche European Open.

As the two-time DP World Tour winner plotted his way around the North Course at Green Eagle Golf Courses, in Hamburg, Germany, Ferguson noticed that the sand in the bunkers was firm and compact. That consistency, Ferguson realized, paired with the low lips in some of the course’s bunkers allowed for an unusual club selection from the sand: putter.

When the tournament started in earnest, it didn’t take Ferguson long to employ his unconventional strategy. After depositing his second shot into a greenside bunker at the par-4 8th in the first round, Ferguson grabbed his flatstick — “you don’t see that very often,” said a TV commentator — and banged his ball though a few yards of sand.

The ball scooted through the hazard, up and over the lip and came to rest 6 feet 2 inches from the hole. Ferguson missed the ensuing par putt but still deemed his tactic a success.

We know that because in the second round…he did it again.

The par-3 14th on the North Course plays to a narrow green flanked by a bunker on the front-left and water to the right. On Friday, Ferguson’s tee shot shot found that bunker, leaving him a knee-knocking second shot to a green running away from him toward the water. Anything less than a perfectly thumped wedge could have ended up wet so Ferguson got creative again. Yep, out came the putter.

“There was such a narrow little green,” he said after his round. “I thought that if it bounces and I don’t get the strike right, it could just trickle into the water, so I’d have to go left. So I thought I’d just putt it, and it went in. It rolled nice, didn’t it?”

It did indeed — right into the hole.

The unlikely birdie moved Ferguson to two under for the round and three under for the tournament, which is where he ended his day. With players still on the course completing their second rounds, Ferguson is just three behind clubhouse leader Maximilian Kieffer. (Ferguson’s +2.25 strokes gained: around the green tally is also impressive, good for fourth-best in the field.)

Will Ferguson continue to putt from the sand as the stakes get higher over the weekend? We shall see. But there’s no question he’s feeling confident in the technique. On Thursday, the PGA Tour tweeted a highlight of Jordan Spieth holing out — the traditional way — from a greenside bunker at the Memorial.

Ferguson’s cheeky reply: “Personally I see it as putt.”

Alan Bastable Editor

As’s executive editor, Bastable is responsible for the editorial direction and voice of one of the game’s most respected and highly trafficked news and service sites. He wears many hats — editing, writing, ideating, developing, daydreaming of one day breaking 80 — and feels privileged to work with such an insanely talented and hardworking group of writers, editors and producers. Before grabbing the reins at, he was the features editor at GOLF Magazine. A graduate of the University of Richmond and the Columbia School of Journalism, he lives in New Jersey with his wife and foursome of kids.