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Giving Darth Vader some love at Oakmont

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OAKMONT, Pa. – Oakmont superintendent John Zimmers joked that members call him “Satan” and “Darth Vader” because his course setups are so demanding, but the best women in the world are praising him and his staff for their work.

Paula Creamer said that while the course was softer following Friday’s heavy rains at the U.S. Women's Open, it still played remarkably fast on Saturday.

“The fairways were softer, but the ball still would run out,” Creamer said. “The greens were much more receptive, but you still had to keep the ball below the hole.

“The superintendent, the maintenance staff, they did a heck of a job. You would never even guess it had so much rain.”

Zimmers said 2 inches of rain fell Friday. Because of lightning, the maintenance crew could not get out until midnight to begin preparation for Saturday. By 7:30 a.m., mowing and substantial bunker work were completed with the course ready for resumption of play.

There are 210 bunkers at Oakmont.

“Yesterday, the bunkers were all under water,” Creamer said. “I was in a lot of ‘em today, and they were pretty good.”

Zimmer said the greens were rolling about 14 in Friday’s driest conditions. He said the greens were less firm Saturday, but they were rolling almost as fast.