US Open - Golf: Five Key Holes at Brookline

14 June 2022 19:25:33 GMTPlus10
The Country Club, Brookline hosts the 122nd US Open

The US Open has offers one of the toughest tests in golf each year and that is likely to be the case again for the 122nd edition of the tournament, which takes place at The Country Club, Brookline, this week.

Brookline last hosted the US Open in 1988, when Curtis Strange took down Nick Faldo in an 18-hole playoff, and it has since staged the 1999 Ryder Cup - dubbed the Battle of Brookline - and the 2013 US Amateur which was won by England's Matt Fitzpatrick.

At 7,264 yards, this timeless par-70 is not long by modern standards but the USGA will strive to make it as tough as possible with thick rough and fescue expected to gobble up errant tee shots, while pin positions will make life difficult on small, contoured greens.

Below is a guide to five key holes which could decide who wins the 2022 US Open.

What: 122nd US Open

Where: The Country Club, Brookline, Massachusetts

When: Tournament starts 11:45am, Thursday 16th June 2022

How to watch: Sky Sports Main Event & Sky Sports Golf

Odds: Rory McIlroy 10/1, Justin Thomas 12/1, Jon Rahm 14/1, Scottie Scheffler 14/1, Cameron Smith 20/1

Hole 3: Pond, par 4, 499 yards

One of The Country Club's signature holes and part of a brutal four-hole opening stretch, the par-four third requires a drive of 290 yards to carry a bunker on the left, but any players who decide to take that shot on will soon run out of room as the fairway begins to narrow.

Those who can thread the needle of this hourglass hole will be rewarded for taking the risky option but disaster lurks for anyone who is slightly off line. The second shot is played to a large, undulating green but anyone going long will likely find themselves in the pond for which this hole is named.

Hole 11: Redan, par 3, 131 yards

Some of golf's most iconic holes verge on the shorter end of the spectrum - seven at Pebble Beach, Troon's Postage Stamp and Augusta's Golden Bell among the leading examples - and Redan, which has not been used in the US Open since 1913, presents a similarly fascinating challenge.

The 131-yard par three, which is likely to play even shorter at some stage in the tournament, requires a downhill tee shot to a small green. Accuracy is of paramount importance because the penalty for missing the dancefloor will be severe for anyone trying and failing to access tight, tucked pins.

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Hole 14: Primrose, par 5, 619 yards

A one-of-a-kind par-five hole which could make or break any US Open challenge on Sunday afternoon, Brookline's 14th has previously played as a 480-yard par four for Majors before a new tee was added for the 2013 US Am.

A long, accurate drive is required to find the left part of the fairway, enabling players to go for the green in two, while anyone who finds the rough will be forced to lay up and leave a blind approach from at least 140 yards. The green itself is tiny, anyone who finds it in two shots sets up a fantastic eagle chance but there is the potential for card-wrecking scores too.

Hole 17: Elbow, par 4, 373 yards

The par-four 17th is perhaps more notorious for its historical significance than any difficulties it will present this week, because the famous penultimate hole cost legendary Englishman Harry Vardon a second US Open title in 1913 and, 86 years later, was the scene of Justin Leonard's long putt which won the US the Ryder Cup in acrimonious circumstances.

Just a drive and a flick of a wedge for the modern Major contender, the Elbow still requires a tee shot into the right part of the fairway in order to access a green where any would-be US Open winner must be careful to avoid spinning back off the false front.

Hole 18: Home, par 4, 451 yards

At 451 yards, The Country Club's closing 18th is not as brutal as it once was but it is still set to test the nerves of whoever heads to the tee holding the US Open lead through 71 holes. Finding the fairway is essential and players must decide whether they want to either lay up short of the left-hand bunkers, thread a slim 20-yard passage, or carry the sand.

Like so many holes at Brookline, a blind second shot will be required to a green featuring a backstop which can open up birdie chances. Come up short and find the huge front bunker, go long and face a near-impossible up-and-down. A fitting finish to an iconic golf course.

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