This wasn’t the hand-delivered gift the 64 remaining golfers expected when they arrived at Chambers Bay Golf Links on Wednesday morning to start the opening round of match play.
An excuse to make birdies?
“Maybe they’ll try and make it harder throughout the week,” University of Washington product Nick Taylor said, “but they changed the course a lot today.”
• The first hole was taken back near the 10th tee box, and played as a moderate-length par-5 hole (542 yards), not a brutally-long par-4 hole.
• The USGA decided to utilize the green closer to the fifth-hole tee box. From where the golfers teed it up, they played a downhill 320-yard, par-4 hole – easily drivable.
• The tee for the 10th hole was moved up, giving them another drivable par-4 hole at 308 yards.
• All the par-3 holes played shorter than usual, too.
“It’s a little variety,” said Mike McCoy.
The results were staggering. In qualifying rounds only at Chambers Bay – 312 of them – 665 birdies were recorded.
In 64 rounds Wednesday, with many of them not going the full 18 holes in match play, 235 birdies were made.
“You get to see a lot of different angles, and with this being the second round, you get to see different pins,” Brad Benjamin said. “It’s just a fun course, it really is.”