WOODSTOCK, Ga. – The par-70, 7,247 yard, Capital City Club Crabapple course drew rave reviews following the opening round Sunday in the Ping/Golfweek Preview and, among coaches, there was no doubt this Tom Fazio-designed layout will provide a challenging test come next May for the NCAA Men’s Division I Championship.
“The golf course is in great shape,” said host team coach Bruce Heppler of Georgia Tech after the Yellow Jackets’ opening round of 7-over-par 287, which put them in a tie for third. “Our guys did a nice job of hanging around today. We didn’t have a great start, but played the fourth through 18th fairly well. Holes 14 through 18 is really a tough stretch, especially with today’s wind.”
Texas A&M could certainly identify with the difficulty of those closing five holes. For the first 13 holes, the Aggies hung in among the top of the leaderboard. But the final five sent A&M reeling. The Aggies’ five players struggled through that stretch in 17-over par and ended day one at 14-over 294 and tied for 13th in the 15-team field.
The Preview’s field of 75 players averaged 72.89 in the first round with the par-4, 480-yard, 14th hole playing the toughest at 4.63.
“This is one tough course,” UCLA coach Derek Freeman said. “You have to be patient and know where to place your ball on the greens. It definitely tests you mentally. It’s a monster and challenges every part of your game.”
Added UNLV coach Dwaine Knight, “This is one big golf course. You’ve really got to hit the shots. It’s in great shape and the greens are perfect. If you drive it well you’re rewarded, but if you get into the rough, even around the greens, you’re going to have a tough time.”
Texas coach John Fields may have said it best and in the most simplest way. Asked what he thought about the course, the veteran coach answered, “Wow.”
No doubt, the Crabapple course, which has played host to the PGA Tour’s 2003 American Express Championship, 2010 NCAA South Regional, 2012 AJGA Rolex Tournament of Champions and 2005 AJGA Canon Cup, should make for an interesting NCAA Championship next spring.