Birdie fest? Klein's Sunday hole-by-hole at Pinehurst

Dustin Johnson hits his tee shot on the first hole during the final round of the U.S. Open at Pinehurst.
Dustin Johnson hits his tee shot on the first hole during the final round of the U.S. Open at Pinehurst. ( Getty Images )

Sunday, June 15, 2014

PINEHURST, N.C. – Sunday’s set up for Pinehurst No. 2 looks like it’s ripe for a barrage of red numbers, with four eagle opportunities awaiting the bold player.

The par-70 course will play only 7,349 yards, the shortest all week. More importantly, the tees have been moved up on two par-4s, making both the third and 13th reachable from the tee. They’ve also moved up the tee on the previously unreachable (in two) par-5 10th hole, by 40 yards. And while the tees are back on the par-5 fifth, the hole is playing down breeze thanks to an uncharacteristic wind out of the east at 4-8 mph – enough, perhaps to bring the green within reach of the field in two.

Green speeds are modest – 12.5 on the Stimpmeter. You have to think that the USGA is being a little easier on the greens this final round than normally is the case because instead of being able to push the turfgrass to the edge they have to keep it alive and healthy for another week of play – the U.S. Women’s Open.

A look at the hole locations show relative accessibility – nothing stands out as extremely hard or tucked away, except for the back-left locations on the short, drivable par-4 third and the long par-4 11th and a center-right flag on the long par-4 16th.

Martin Kaymer’s five-shot lead is by no means safe under such a set up. There will be more low scores out there besides Daniel Berger’s early 66. Someone, somewhere, will manage a 64 or 65. If it comes in the last few groups, this could turn into a dogfight. Unless it’s Kaymer who’s going low.

Here are the average scores per round, including Sunday as of 2:15 p.m. EDT:

  • Round 1: 73.2
  • Round 2: 72.9
  • Round 3: 73.8
  • Round 4: 72.7

Here's a look at each hole on Sunday, with what to look for:

• • •

Hole-by-Hole Sunday

No. 1, Par 4, 390 yards: The hole is cut front right, well away from the bunker and near the traditional bail-out area right.

No. 2, Par 4, 502 yards: Into the breeze, which will conspire with the center-right hole location to make this far and away the hardest hole on the course.

No. 3, Par 4, 313 yards via the dogleg, but 308 yards on a straight line from the tee: Very reachable, though it’s hard to land the ball on the green from the tee and have the ball stop. A lot of players bombing it off the tee will hope to wind up in the left greenside bunker. This is eagle opportunity No. 1.

No. 4, Par 4, 528 yards: Into the light breeze, with a relatively tough, middle-left hole location that is best reached from the right side of the fairway.

No. 5, Par 5, 572 yards: The easiest hole location on what is usually an unforgiving green. They moved the hole way right, safely away from steep bunkers left and within easy reach downwind from a turbo-charged, down-sloping fairways that will leave many players hitting long irons in today. Eagle opportunity No. 2.

No. 6, Par 3, 245 yards: Slightly down breeze, to a safe, flat spot on the green that is close to trouble on the right but that allows for a shot played short that will run up.

No. 7, Par 4, 424 yards: Back to a two-shotter after the tee was moved up yesterday. This will be strictly layup, then a middle-iron or shorter club to front-left hole location. It’s placement provides little advantage for bolder play off the tee with a driver.

No. 8, Par 4, 493 yards: Straightaway, to a back-right hole location that is above a hollow and below a steep fall off behind.

No. 9, Par 3, 172 yards: Heds to a little flat spot front right. Anything right, short or long by more than 3 yards will wander off aimlessly. Of course you can get lucky, like Zack Johnson and play it 10 yards left and have it roll in for an ace.

No. 10, Par 5, 577 yards: The most accessible the hole can possibly play thanks to a wind that is not hurting, the tees moved forward, and a front-center hole location that allows for a ball to dribble in. Eagle opportunity No. 3.

No. 11, Par 4, 490 yards: This will be tough drive, given the slight help from the wind and the need to hit a controlled fade. It’s easy to hit it through the fairway left, or to overcook the cut on the drive and wind up in sandy stuff to the right.

No. 12, Par 4, 481 yards: With the hole cut front right, it’s very receptive to a fade approach.

No. 13, Par 4, 314 yards: Measuring 309 yards straight to the front left flagstick. It’s impossible to grunt the ball up the slope fronting the green that eats up the front third of this green. The trick, if anyone is to hold the green from the tee, is to fly it on about 10-15 yards deep and let the back of the green provide support. Eagle opportunity No. 4.

No. 14, Par 4, 473 yards: Front-left hole location that can be reached with a draw via a little run up and in any case is not terribly difficult.

No. 15, Par 3, 205 yards: To a back-right hole location that was created by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw when they leveled a little segment of the green adjoining a deep bunker on the right.

No. 16, Par 4, 527 yards: Tough hole, pretty tough hole location middle right, near deep sand that will come into play given the wind direction from the right and the tendency of anything hit left of center to keep racing away.

No. 17, Par 3, 185 yards: To another hole location (front left) that was reclaimed by Coore and Crenshaw during their restoration. Today’s hole will bring sand into play both short right and just to the left.

No. 18, Par 4, 458 yards: To the back right “Payne Stewart” hole location that’s sure to be referenced a lot today. readers: We value your input and welcome your comments, but please be respectful in this forum.