Saturday's hole locations could prove tough
The hole locations for Saturday's round have been released. My first reaction: I don't see any of the traditional Sunday locations being used today. That means -- I think -- that today will be the tougher scoring day of the two weekend rounds.
The hole is far left on the par-5 second, six paces from the edge -- no eagles there without sinking a long putt.
The hole on the par-3 fourth is on the right side, just five paces beyond the front bunker -- another place where it will be tough to get shots close.
Slippery downhill putts alert: The par-5 eighth, par-4 10th and par-3 12th holes all feature front-of-the-green pin positions: eight paces on at Nos. 8 and 12, seven paces on at 10.
Wondering about back-nine eagle possibilities? The hole at the par-5 13th is cut on the back-left shelf of the green. That's the toughest of No. 13's four traditional hole locations to cozy up to, especially with the dropoff behind that putting surface. The hole at the par-5 15th, on the other hand, is in the middle of the green and 17 paces back, which is one of the easiest hole locations there.
Don't expect many birdies at the par-3 16th. Today's hole location is back-right, just four paces from the bunker behind the green. Most players aren't going to challenge that pin, but will instead play short and take their chances on a 40-foot putt up the slope.
Finally, the hole location on No. 18 is back left. Occasionally (like in 1992, when Fred Couples won), that position is used for the final round. But more often than not, the Sunday pin position on No. 18 is front left, where players can use the swale in the middle of the green as a backstop to get their approach shots close. It doesn't take a rocket scientist -- or a sneak peek at Billy Payne's Blackberry -- to predict that's where it will be tomorrow.
-- Geoff Russell