The second course that will be used during the qualifying rounds is called the Home Course located in DuPont WA. This beautiful course is 7,434 from the tips with a 76.2 course rating and slope of 130.
This is the course that the participants in the 2010 US Amateur will need to score well on as Chambers Bay is going to be a very tough test. The key to finishing in the top 64 for match play will be PATIENCE…isn’t that always the case, but especially using these two venues players will need to play conservatively on most the holes with only a few real birdie holes on each course. Of course this is my opinion having qualified for match play in 19 out 23 USGA events I’ve played in over 4 decades. I believe this years qualifying rounds will be no different than the last Amateur I qualified for match play in at the Olympic club in 2007, where 7 over par played off for the last few spots.
I believe the qualifying score could be even higher than +7 with the difficulty of Chambers Bay. My opinion however will change if we play the course from shorter tees than today’s practice round where we played every hole from the tips (over 7,700 yards long). So lets analyze what you’ll need to do to finish under +7 for the two qualifying rounds. First I will try to eliminate the possibility of making a double bogey or higher on any of the 36 holes we’ll play. The trouble on these two courses is not off the tee but on the second shots into the greens. The big mistakes will be made with aggressive second shots that will end up in places where par will be impossible and double possible. The tight lies will not allow players to go through the air with most of the missed shots at Chambers Bay. These are shots most are not familiar with or comfortable with, especially under pressure. So after a poor second shot, MAKE SURE you make no worse than a bogey as the doubles are two expensive with so few birdie holes on either course.
The other key is to be aggressive on the holes that do give you a chance to make a birdie. I’ll be going over hole by hole on each course and let you know how I’ll approach each hole to shoot a qualifying score that will be lower than my target of better than +7. After my 1st round I will need to adjust my strategy based on my position and what I feel the match play cut will be. I really don’t care what qualifying number I come in at…I JUST WANT TO PLAY ON WEDNESDAY
So I hope you find this to be insightful and if nothing else entertaining- here we go
HOME COURSE – HOLE #1
Get off to a good start and hit the tee shot with the club that fits your eye the best. If your driver is a fade club and your 3 metal is your draw club I’d take a 3 metal and get the ball in the fairway. Although this hole is 451 yards, it plays short with the firmness of the fairway. A nice wide green awaits you so play safe here and get off the 1st hole with a par by not shooting at a pin stuck in either corner.
HOME COURSE #2
This is a short par four that will give you a chance at birdie after a good drive. A three metal or driver can be used off this tee especially since either club is enough to carry the bunker on the right side that’s a 213 yard carry. The proper line off the tee here is a shot down the left center that will leave some kind of wedge into this rather long green.
HOME COURSE #3
The bunker off the tee on the left is 294 yards off the tee but easily reachable with a driver. I think the safe and proper play is with a 3 medal down the middle on this short hole that usually plays downwind. The second shot will play downhill and shorter than the yardage by 5-10 yards and a back pin will make this hole a bit more challenging. Care should be placed on making sure your approach is on the proper level of this green or a possible bogey awaits you.
HOME COURSE #4
From the back tee this is a tough par three at 204 yards where it will be tough to judge the distance with a slight breeze in your face offset by the downhill shot to the green. The key is to get the ball on the correct quadrant of the green. There is a left, middle and right section of the green that will be challenging to putt from any of these other than the proper section where the pin will be. Play this hole for a par and move on to the 5th hole!!
HOME COURSE #5
This massive 654 yard par 5 requires some patience. The tee shot is actually a little more spacious than what your eye sees off the tee. Be careful on your 2nd shot as you lay up for a 3rd shot in the 130-150 range. An aggressive 2nd shot with three metal can easily find trouble right or left which doesn’t gain much as I believe this is a three shot hole for all the players. The green has a run off into a back bunker on both the right and left sides of the green. PLAY SAFE here and make a par 5.
HOME COURSE #6
This 209 yard par three plays down wind and I hit a 5 iron to the middle of the green and I plan to hit the same shot again regardless of where the pin is placed. I may be able to get a 6 iron to the front of the green but a mishit shot will find the front bunker. This green slopes from back to front and best played at the middle of the green.
HOME COURSE #7
This 434 yard par four plays downwind and quite short as the second shot is downhill over a lake. The tee shot should favor the left center leaving less than 140 yards to the green. In my practice round I hit a 54 degree sand wedge to the front pin and a wedge to the middle or back. The lake must be avoided at all cost so a shot a little long here is not going to hurt with the backboard the green provides on this approach. This is a birdie hole hit it stiff!!
HOME COURSE #8
This is a birdie hole and should be attacked. A good drive down the middle will leave you a second shot from the left side of the fairway leaving you the best angle into this par 5 hole. From 250 yards I hit a 3 metal onto the green for an easy birdie. The green is sloped from right to left and a shot coming in from the right will kick left and onto the green. Take advantage of this birdie hole!!
HOME COURSE #9
This nice finishing hole for the front nine is quite generous off the tee allowing a player to let a driver loose here. The second shot plays slightly uphill to a green that has a steep spine running through the green. This green is fairly narrow and a missed green here will likely result in bogey so make an effort to get the second shot onto this surface. The right side of the green has some slope back left which can be used to bank a slightly errant shot on the right. A miss left will find the deep bunker. Finish this side strong with a solid par here!
HOME COURSE #10
This is perhaps the easiest hole on the course. I hit driver and a 22 degree rescue onto the middle of the green during my practice round. The key is the tee shot which should be played down the right side cutting off the most yardage and leaving the best angle into the green. This hole is usually downwind and plays quite a bit shorter than 569 yards. Let it rip her and give yourself a chance at an eagle.
HOME COURSE #11
This hole can be played many ways depending on the wind, how your feeling and your position in the qualifier. The narrowest lay up is 180-210 yards off the tee on this 340 yard par 4 hole. A large tree looks at you off the left side of the tee and a driver down the left side may leave the easiest 2nd shot into this green. Although this is a birdie hole, I know there will be a number of disappointing bogeys as well. I’d play the club you have most control over off the tee and give yourself a yardage you like best into this table top green.
HOME COURSE #12
The tee shot on #12 requires some thought as this green is very firm and fast. The green from the tee appears to be quite wide when it’s actually quite narrow. I think a slight draw from the right side is the shot the hole calls for. Get your tee shot on this green, take your two putts and leave with a 3 on this tough par three hole.
My pictures of the tee shots on 12 and 13 where blurred-
HOME COURSE #13
This 466 yard par four is a tough hole. 12-14 on the Home Course provides a stiff challenge. This 13th hole was playing into the wind and quite long. After a well struck drive I had a four iron left into the green. This hole can be as much as a 3 metal into the green if the tee shot is not hit solid. Play to the center of the green and MAKE A FOUR HERE!!!
HOME COURSE #14
This is a great 196 yard par 3 into the wind. You need to select the proper club here (long is better than short) stay left and be happy with a shot onto the left portion of the green. DO NOT go pin hunting if the pin is on the right as a missed shot will most likely result in a double bogey. Play for a par three on this tough par three!
HOME COURSE #15
This 433 yard par four hole is fairly generous off the tee, but requires a well played second shot to this green that slopes hard from the middle of the green to the left side, and back to front. Getting your second shot to the proper portion of the green is important. I found this second shot to play a half of club uphill. Take a par here and move on!
HOME COURSE #16
This 559 yard par 5 is going to be tough to reach in two shots as it’s uphill and into the wind. The fairway is actually further right than it looks from the tee. A ripped tee ball down the right center will give the longer hitters a chance to reach this green in two shots, especially is they use the slope on the right side to carom the ball onto the green. This is a birdie hole, so if laying up, do so to the yardage that you prefer.
HOME COURSE #17
This 400 yard par 4 hole needs to treated with some care. The bunker off the tee on the right side needs to be avoided. The tee shot is best placed in the left center of the fairway for the best approach shot to this two tiered green. YOU MUST BE ON THE PROPER TIER to have a birdie or par chance. This is a very long green at 40 yards requiring an accurate second shot. Be careful here and don’t get careless due to the length of this hole.
HOME COURSE #18
This 470 yard par 4 is usually slightly downwind. Your tee shot needs to avoid the three bunkers down the left side. The fairway is generous enough to let one loose here down the left center which should leave a short iron to this very long green with moderate slope. Make a solid par here to end your nine!
I had the pleasure to play a practice round with Yi Keun from Southern California and Jim Liu from New York. This is what I love about golf and the US amateur. I asked these two fine young gentlemen what college they attended, they looked at each other and said well I’m a Junior and Jim is a sophomore….in high school!! I may have this wrong but Jim is 15 and Yi Keun is 16 years old playing in their first US amateur. I wish them and all the contestants the very best of luck, and to remember that this is a game first of all, so relax and ENJOY the amazing experience and journey that begins on Monday morning.
Tomorrow I’ll have a complete course guide with photos of Chambers Bay that I believe you will find interesting!!
Thanks and Stay Tuned!