The 16th at The Olympic Club has been shortened by more than 100 yards Sunday.
SAN FRANCISCO — The longest hole in U.S. Open history will be significantly shorter for Sunday’s final round.
The par-5 16th at The Olympic Club is 670 yards from the back tees. But the tees has been moved up 101 yards and will play at 569 yards, giving players a chance to reach the green in two for the first time all week.
“It’s going to be pretty exciting." USGA Executive Director Mike Davis told the Golf Channel.
At the 2007 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club, the USGA made a similar move. Davis was pleased with how it provided different strategies for players.
"When we did it, it made the players on that tee make a choice," Davis said. "If you hit a straight shot, you are going to run out of fairway as hard as that hole doglegs right to left. I think you will a nice spread of scoring on that.”
Through the first three rounds, the 16th has been the fourth most difficult hole on the course, playing to a stroke average of 5.407. Just 26 birdies were made, compared to 126 bogeys, 21 double bogeys and five others.
To reach the green in two, players must aggressively curve two shots right to left to do so. The hole location is front left just above the run-up to the green.
The USGA warned that putts from the middle of the green "will be very fast."
With just two players above par entering the final round — 54-hole co-leaders Jim Furyk and Graeme McDowell at 1 under — Davis is pleased with how the course has played.
"The first three days were exactly how we want this U.S. Open," he said. "It was a firm, fast golf course. It rewarded good shots and penalized bad shots. You had to think your way around. It really allowed players of varying length to play this course. It was really a wonderful test.
"In terms of today, we anticipate, because of the great weather we’ve got so far, that it will play much like the first three days.”
More notes on Sunday’s course set-up:
>> At the 224-yard par-3 third, the hole location is the center right. Balls landing on the green hole-high will very likely release to the back of the fall-away green
>> At the 491-yard par-4 fifth, the hole location is in the front left; most putts will be downhill and very fast
>> At the drivable 264-yard par-4 seventh, the hole location is front right against the ridge that separates the front and back portions. Missing it long in any direction will make recovery very difficult
>> At the 423-yard par-4 11th, the hole location is above the ridge on the left side, making the approach shot more challenging
>> At the 211-yard par-3 13th, the hole location is back right. With the green sloping right to left, a miss to the right side of the green will provide a very challenging recovery
>> At the 510-yard par-5 17th, the hole location is in the center, about two-thirds back. Putts from above and to the left of the hole will be very fast.
>> At the 335-yard par-4 18th, the hole is just four paces on, in the front left traditional final-round location