The Loop

Examining Friday's hole locations at Congressional

June 17, 2011

BETHESDA, Md. -- How Friday's second round at the U.S. Open will play out is still unknown, but the hole locations golfers will have to contend with are not. As usual, the USGA has a mix of difficult, moderate and easy pin placements for players to shoot at. Of course, even the "easy" locations take on a new meaning at the toughest tournament in golf. Let's take a look at some of the holes (numbers in the graphic are in yards) that jump out.


Right off the bat, players will have trouble hitting it close at both No. 1 and No. 2. No. 1, a relatively tame 402-yard par 4, played as the 15th toughest hole on Day 1, but there probably won't be as many birdies today with that back, right location. No. 2 was in the middle of the pack in the opening round in terms of difficulty, but the tees are back today and with the hole cut up front, getting a long iron or hybrid close from 233 yards will be a challenge.

At No. 11, the hole is located only three yards from a shaved bank that leads right into a pond. Among those finding that water hazard yesterday was Dustin Johnson and we could see a few more in there today if players get too agressive. Of course, the 494-yard par 4, which played the most difficult on Thursday with a stroke average of 4.4615, could have a hole cut in the middle of the green and surrounded by bumpers and it would still play hard.

Finally, coming in the players will have their work cut out for them with a tricky front, left location on No. 17 and a daunting back, left spot on No. 18, which played as the third-most difficult hole yesterday and could very well move to the top spot by week's end. Don't expect to see to many guys firing at that pin cut way out on the peninsula green unless they need a birdie to make the cut Friday evening.

In total, there are 11 holes with pin placements five paces or less from the edge. With sunny skies and warmer temperatures than what greeted players yesterday, firmer conditions will only accentuate those extreme locations.

-- Alex Myers

Follow on Twitter: @AlexMyers3