Finishing hole thoughts


BETHLEHEM, Pa. – If the 64th U.S. Women’s Open comes down to the final hole on Sunday, expect quite a bit of drama. At 444 yards, the par-4 18th at Saucon Valley Country Club is a beast of a finishing hole. Originally designed as a par 3, most players will be hitting a fairway wood or hybrid into the green, which is bisected by a two-foot deep swale on the front portion of the green. Any approach shot that doesn’t find the top tier will fall off significantly.

Making the approach shot even more difficult is that the fairway is heavily contoured, rising to its highest point just beyond the landing area to obstruct the player’s view of the green. Both Lorena Ochoa and Paula Creamer had trouble with their blind approach shots into this hole during Thursday’s opening round, coming up short in the right greenside bunker. Creamer blasted out to about three feet and made her par, while Ochoa hit her third shot 15 feet past the hole and missed her par save.

That bogey dropped Ochoa to even par, which is where she stands after 10 holes. Creamer made a birdie on the par-5 1st hole and is also at even par through 10 holes. Both Creamer and Ochoa teed off on the 10th hole. The early leader is Korea’s Eun-Hee Ji, who is in the group behind Creamer and Ochoa and is 2 under through nine holes.