2016 Olympics
August 14, 2016

The Sunday pin position that should decide the Olympics medal chase

RIO DE JANEIRO -- The 303-yard par-4 16th at the Olympic Golf Course has quietly lived up to the pre-tournament hype. Yielding almost as many birdies as pars, with two eagles thrown in, the players have also made some ill-timed pars on such a seemingly drivable hole.

However, with a simple hole location selection Sunday, it should play a pivotal role in who takes home the first Olympic medals handed out in 112 years.

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The options provided by architect Gil Hanse are plentiful on paper, but with Sunday’s back right hole location, there is only one smart play: lay up, and lay up left.

You’ll know someone is thinking clearly when they use an iron to lay up down the left side of a fairway bisected by natural mounding, a trickier task than it seems with out-of-bounds about 30 yards to their left. That play opens up a better angle to the back left hole location mostly unencumbered by any real hazards. Here is the look:

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If a player goes straight at the green it’s almost impossible to run a shot on the putting surface. So if they end up just in front of the green, they risk facing this wedge shot over sand, with a huge tight-mow fall-off behind the green:

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The hole has played to a 3.648 scoring average, with 78 birdies, 82 pars, bogeys and 2 double bogeys.