ERNIE ELS cannot remember ever taking four shots to get out of a bunker before he did it today during his opening 70 at the Scottish Open.
Worse might have been to come when European Tour senior referee Andy McFee was waiting to speak to him after his round, but the South African was cleared of any wrong-doing during his nightmare in the sand at the 568-yard sixth.
Two extra shots would have made it a quadruple bogey nine. "It was like digging a grave," said the Big Easy.
Meanwhile, Phil Mickelson missed out on a trip to the Vatican to play in the Scottish Open, but might need some help from above to win it after an opening 73 left him 11 shots off the pace.
"I think everybody is looked on equally and you have to make your own destiny," said Mickelson, who left his family in Italy because he felt the need to play more before going to Royal Lytham for next week's Open Championship.
The 42-year-old began well enough with two birdies in his first three holes.
But his problems of late resurfaced with three bogeys and also a seven at the long 12th, where he went through the fairway into a hazard and only then realised that hitting with a driver was the wrong decision.
At one over, the same as playing partner Paul Lawrie, Mickelson is well outside the top 100 going into the second round.
Only the top 65 and ties make it through the 36-hole cut.