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Players can lift and clean embedded balls at Bethpage

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. — The rain finally stopped at Bethpage State Park on Thursday night, but the turf at the Black Course feels like soaked rye bread underfoot. The light breeze and momentary bits of sunshine are helping a little, but nearly every shot has a chance of embedding in the muck.Here's how the USGA is handling plugged balls: If a player hits a shot that embeds, the ball can be picked up, cleaned and put back on the ground as close as possible to where it was embedded. This only applies to balls embedded in the ground. If a ball is simply dirty or buried in deep rough, tough luck.

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by Kevin Cunningham