Testing second hole

RUMFORD, R.I. – The par-4 second hole at Wannamoisett Country Club has long been considered one of the toughest – if not the toughest – holes on the course.

It’s listed as the No. 3 handicap hole on the club’s scorecard, but most members consider it top-ranked as far as difficulty.

During last year’s Northeast Amateur, which annually attracts one of the strongest fields on the amateur circuit, No. 2 ranked as the event’s most difficult with a stroke average of 4.321.

So what does Wannamoisett do? It makes the hole even tougher.

As part of some big-time course renovations, the club stretched the second hole by some 35 yards to 505 yards. And it’s still a par-4, although there’s plenty of players at this year’s tournament who would dispute that.

When the starting field of 84 players completed their opening rounds, the average score at No. 2 was 4.488. There were 46 pars, 32 bogeys and five double bogeys. Only one birdie was recorded, that by defending champion Brenden Gielow, who sank a 15-foot putt for his 3.

“If you don’t hit the fairway (off the tee) chances are you are not going to get to the green in regulation,” said former Northeast Amateur champion Todd White.

“It would make for a very nice par-5,” added Carlton Forrester.

And consider this, with the green – normally one of the fastest and most severe on the course – soft and slow due to recent rains, the hole probably played as easy as it’s going to all week.

All I can say is wait until Saturday’s final round. If the rain stays away and the sun comes out, a lot of players are going to be talking to themselves as they make their way to the third tee.

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