Choices choices


BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The one word most players are using to describe Saucon Valley Country Club’s Old Course is “long.” At 6,740 yards, it’s the second-longest course setup in U.S. Women’s Open history, and plays just nine yards shorter than it did for the U.S. Senior Open in 2000.

The course figures to play shorter on the weekend, however, with the U.S. Golf Association moving up some tees to introduce more risk-reward into the championship.

“There are some neat opportunities out there to really showcase the architecture that you wouldn’t see if you played from the back teeing ground every day,” said Mike Davis, the USGA’s senior director of rules and competitions. “And to really mix and match some hole locations that you wouldn’t necessarily use from the back teeing ground.”

One hole that figures to move to a shorter teeing ground on the weekend is the par-3 9th hole, which is going to play at both 210 and 178 yards.  Saucon Creek crosses in front of the green, which slopes from back to front toward the water, presenting a difficult challenge for the players from the back tees or if the pin is positioned up front. Several of the par 4s also figure to play shorter to tempt players into driving the green. The par-4 10th plays at 332 and 252 yards, and the par-4 15th at 339 and 257 yards.

“I always think it’s great to have a strategy, to be aggressive when you can,” said world No. 1 Lorena Ochoa. “It makes things more interesting. If it’s reachable, yes I could do it [drive the green].”