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Friday's Hole Locations at Oakland Hills Offer No Breaks

9th_hole_fri_165x216 The hardest hole on the course at Oakland Hills Thursday was the finisher, the 498-yard, par-4 18th. Uphill all the way, players have to hit a long-iron, hybrid club or fairway wood into a green with a spine splitting the putting surface into right and left sections. It played to a stroke average of 4.6122
The 227-yard, par-3 ninth was also brutal and played to 3.5238.
With scoring conditions as tough as they were, and players saying that the PGA Championship seemed to be morphing into a U.S. Open, there was speculation that the PGA of America might make the course a touch easier on Friday. After all, no rain is in the forecast, so the greens will likely get even firmer and faster.
Think again.
A quick glance at the pin sheet for Friday's second round shows that the flag on the ninth hole is nine paces from the front and four paces from the left edge. That means the bunkers that guard the left side will be in18th_hole_fri_163x213 play, and competitors will aim well right, leaving themselves 30- and 40-foot snake-like birdie putts. That is, if they hit the green.
At the 18th hole, the cup will be nine paces in from the front edge and nine paces from the left edge. That means the enormous Y-shaped bunker on the left-front portion of the green will be looming, so many players will again bail out to the right, leaving a putt over the ridge in the middle of the green. And remember, guys will be hitting to this green from more than 200 yards, so getting on the dance floor in the first place won't be automatic.
Have fun fellas!

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by Kevin Cunningham