WOLCOTT, Colo. – Once UC Davis was safely through No. 11 at Red Sky Golf Club, head coach Anne Walker had just two words for the 375-yard par 4: Game changer.
Walker’s description was a fitting one for what was statistically the most challenging hole during Round 1 of the Golfweek Women’s Conference Challenge. The hole ended more than one team’s charge up the leaderboard as the field averaged .89 strokes over par.
Already a long hole, the 11th plays straight uphill to a green guarded on either side by bunkers. In Round 1, the pin was tucked into the back right corner of the green and positioned on a severe shelf that rejected numerous approach shots and putts.
Walker wasn’t the only coach to describe the carnage at the 11th. Arizona head coach Laura Ianello pegged it as the toughest hole on the course as her team went 3 over at No. 11. Virginia head coach Kim Lewellen said it snuck up on her players.
“We probably didn’t prepare for that one as well so we lost a lot of strokes on hole 11,” she said.
Even for those that did prepare, No. 11 was far from easy. San Jose State head coach John Dormann told his team to play to the center of the green and just try to two putt. The Spartans counted a triple bogey, a double bogey and two pars at the hole, but Dormann isn’t complaining.
“It’s a good golf hole,” he said.
Ernie Rose, Minnesota director of instruction, echoed Dormann’s sentiments.
“I think that’s kind of what separates the field,” Rose said. “Normally you expect a hard pin like that, you expect there’s going to be about five or six of those.”
As Rose pointed out, the tucked pin made it hard for players to get close, especially since a ball that landed in the middle of the green could roll back down the front of the green and end up as far as 30 feet away from the hole.
“There’s never a good spot to miss it on that hole,” said Campbell assistant coach Tim Crooks. The Camels counted two pars, a bogey and a double bogey.
The 11th will be a good spot for revenge seekers in Monday’s second round.