Royal Liverpool has been defenceless in the early going of Round 3, the byproduct of wet confines and little rain. But the course does have one curveball to throw at the field:


Play was briefly stopped at the 151st Open Saturday morning as the rare Natterjack toad was seen on Royal Liverpool’s 13th green.

According to The Wildlife Trust, the Natterjack is “The UK’s loudest amphibian, but also one of our rarest. Now mainly found in sand dunes and saltmarshes around the coasts of north-west England and the Solway Firth in Scotland, they breed in shallow, usually temporary pools of water.” According, new breeding pools have been created on the seaward side of Royal Liverpool and “are already attracting a spring symphony of male Natterjacks.”

However, they are also protected by UK law, to the point they have to be removed when they appear on the course by a specialist. On Saturday, that honor fell to Royal Liverpool’s links manager James Bledge, who had to remove a Natterjack from the 13th green.

There’s probably a joke to be made about slow play, but “toad delay” in itself is hard to top.