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Early excitement at the PGA

Published: Friday, Aug. 9, 2013 8:30 a.m. CDT

PITTSFORD, N.Y. – We are under way at Oak Hill, and but for a brief thunderstorm delay, the first day’s play was pretty much par for the course, if you will excuse my pun. The morning was dominated by Jim Furyk who hits fairways and greens like ducks head for ponds, and he carded a 67 almost before lunch was over. The weather was cooperating for the most part, and the course certainly played easier than expected. By the end of the day only one player had matched his score, Adam Scott, and with the course being softened up due to the weather, we may expect a similar day Friday.

My assignment as it turns out for the week is to man tees on 11, 14 and 15, two par three holes and a drivable par 4. Action front and center!

The 11th hole is a 230-plus yard par three and is made to look ridiculously easy by players at this level. In my time there I saw two players hit five iron and every other club between and up to five wood. It never ceases to make me wonder why amateur golfers swing so hard when an efficient swing looks so slow.

The 14th hole played at 336 yards Thursday, and most of the players just hit irons off the tee, leaving an easy wedge in. Later in the afternoon, when the wind got a little stronger, a few tried to drive the green, but only Bubba Watson ended up with a true eagle putt. Birdies were flying fast and furious here and will probably continue through Sunday.

The 15th hole played at 168 yards downhill. It is a really easy sounding par three until you see the pond that fronts the green on the right side and goes halfway to the back of the green. Almost every shot I saw favored the left side of the green apart from one. Miguel Angel Jimenez hit a six iron that actually started out over the water and drew back to finish less than 10 feet from the hole.

The PGA has done a terrific thing with this hole too. They are going to allow visitors to the PGA website to cast their votes for the pin position Sunday, so log on to PGA.com and pick where you would put the hole on Sunday.

Friday awaits, and another hopefully sunny day at Oak Hill. More tomorrow.

Ian Grant is a PGA teaching professional and a member of the teaching faculty of the PGA of America. He can be contacted at Oak Brook Golf Club 630-990-3032 in the summer and White Pines Golf Dome in Bensenville 630-422-1060 in the winter. You can contact Ian directly at 708-917-8951, or at Iansgolf@aol.com.

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