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USGA plays movable tees again

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BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Despite receiving nearly 1.2 inches of rain overnight, the green speeds at Saucon Valley Country Club are once again averaging in the low 13s on the Stimpmeter for today’s final round, said Mike Davis, the U.S. Golf Association’s senior director of rules and competitions.

Just as it did on Saturday for the third round, the USGA has moved up several tee boxes to entice  players to drive the green. On Saturday, the course played more than 200 yards shorter (6,486 yards) than it did for Thursday’s first round (6,708 yards).

The most significant changes involve the 10th and 15th holes, both par 4s. The 10th tee was moved even closer to the green than it was for the third round, to 242 yards, but after yesterday’s meltdown by Paula Creamer on this hole it’s a wonder if anybody will hit driver here. Creamer pulled her tee shot into the left greenside bunker, skulled her second shot over the green and wound up making a triple-bogey 7, all but knocking her out of the tournament. It was the only triple bogey on the hole, which played the easiest on Saturday (3.833 stroke average).

The 15th hole will also be using the forward teeing ground (257 yards). The direct line to the flagstick is only 244 yards, but the wind is forecasted to blow from left to right and the players must carry the ball to an elevated green which sits about 40 feet above the fairway.

The par-3 17th hole has also been shortened considerably, from 170 to 126 yards, but the pin is tucked in the small, back-left portion of the green, just 3-1/2 paces from the back edge.