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USGA: Rain should not affect U.S. Open setup

Cart_33USGA executive director Mike Davis said he expects Merion to be in good shape when the U.S. Open starts Thursday despite heavy rain in the Philadelphia region over the last few days.
"It is maybe the best draining golf course I have ever seen," Davis said Monday. "If you walk this course you know there's hardly any flat lies at Merion. It surface drains beautifully."
Practice rounds were suspended a couple of times due to rain on Monday. The concern over flooding centers on the 11th and 12th holes, and the USGA has back-up plans to play the 4th and 5th holes on Merion's West Course if the 11th and 12th are unplayable. (The U.S. Open will be played on Merion's famous East Course.) The 11th hole was closed Monday, but Davis said the odds of the 11th hole not being playable were "10,000 to 1." The 12th hole is not having any flooding problems at this time.
"When it rains hard you get these streams moving quickly and that's what fills up and ultimately in some cases causes you to go over the 11th green," Davis said. "But we got three and a half inches over roughly 24 hours and the course handled it beautifully because it really does surface drain well. In terms of setup I really don't think you're going to see us do much different."
The weather should improve Tuesday and Wednesday, but more rain is likely on Thursday. The weekend forecast looks more benign, with dry and sunny conditions expected. Photo: A golf cart splashes through a flooded cart path at Merion Golf Club on Monday (AP).

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by Kevin Cunningham