Fast greens anticipated for final round of US Open at Shinnecock Hills


Following gusty winds late this past week, fast greens will be the next challenge for golfers for the final round at the 118th U.S. Open on Sunday.

Players faced constantly changing wind speeds on Thursday, and the combination of the strong wind and bright sunshine dried out the greens.

While winds will be lighter and generally average between 6-12 mph, sunshine and low humidity are expected to keep the greens playing hard and fast for Sunday's final round.

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"Less wind will allow players to be more aggressive with their drives and shots into the green, but the fast greens will make it hard to keep the ball where they want on the green," AccuWeather Meteorologist Steve Travis said.

The strong June sunshine will also mean that anyone at Shinnecock Hills will need sunscreen and sunglasses. The high on Sunday will be in the lower 80s F.

Golf 6/17
Golf 6/17

No weather-related delays are expected, but officials may be forced to water the fairways and greens more frequently to keep the course conditions in check.

During the final round of the 2004 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills, officials had to water the seventh green before nearly every group of players teed off.

"I think that everybody who was either here or watched it realized that we had a situation that on some holes, and particularly the seventh hole itself, you were watching well-executed shots not being rewarded," said United States Golf Association (USGA) CEO Mike Davis.

Davis added that technology has vastly improved in the past 14 years and that the USGA is comfortable in ensuring that a repeat of 2004 won't happen this year.

US Open June 16
US Open June 16

Grounds crew members work on the first fairway after the second round of the U.S. Open Golf Championship, Friday, June 15, 2018, in Southampton, N.Y. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Golfers may want to play aggressively this weekend to make up for the high scoring on Thursday.

The opening-round scoring average was 76.4, or more than six shots over the par of 70. The last time an opening-round scoring average was higher was during the first round of the 1986 U.S. Open, also played at Shinnecock Hills, when the average ballooned to 77.9.

Only four players managed to break par and were tied for the lead at 1-under at the conclusion of Thursday's round, including the current top-ranked golfer in the world, Dustin Johnson.

Johnson extended his lead on Friday, ending the day as the only play under par (4-under).

Johnson is trying to become only the 16th golfer to win the U.S. Open at least twice in their career, following his triumph at Oakmont Country Club during the 116th U.S. Open in 2016.

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