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USGA toughens No. 2 course for third round

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PINEHURST, N.C. – With conditions firming up at Pinehurst, USGA officials offered the remaining players in the field at the U.S. Open no reprieve with the course setup for Round 3.

No. 2 will play 7,422 yards Saturday from tee box to flagstick, six yards shorter than in Round 2 but 62 yards longer than Round 1, and still 140 yards below its maximum yardage. Three par 4s will measure greater than 500 yards – Nos. 2 (515 yards), 4 (542 yards) and 16 (531 yards). With the wind blowing from the northeast, opposite of the prevailing direction, all three holes will play into the wind.

After moving up the tee on the par-4 third hole Friday, officials have once again enticed players by using a forward tee box at the dogleg-right seventh hole in Round 3. The hole today measures 371 yards – 41 yards shorter than in Round 2 – but plays just 315  yards tee-to-green should players attempt to cut the corner of the dogleg over trees and native areas.

After rain softened the greens for Round 2, USGA officials confirmed that the speeds are once again averaging 12.5 on the Stimpmeter, in line with their pace during the first round.

The pin placements add to the difficulty of the course today. Officials placed the hole within five yards of the edge of the green on five of the 18 greens, including the short seventh hole.

A treacherous Pinehurst No. 2 claimed its first victim early Saturday in Toru Taniguchi. After rounds of 72 and 73, Taniguchi ballooned to an 88 in the third round – five shots higher than the previous high score recorded this week.

Here is a look at pin placements for Round 3.

U.S. Open