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USGA shakes up course setup

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BETHLEHEM, Pa. – One thing the U.S. Golf Association likes to do on the weekends of its biggest championship is shake up the tee locations, and add an element of risk-reward for the players. And it's done just for the third round of the U.S. Women’s Open.

When the final pairing of Cristie Kerr (-3) and Paula Creamer (-2) tees off at 1:30 p.m. EST this afternoon, they’ll see a decidedly shorter course than they did in rounds 1 and 2 at Saucon Valley Country Club. Among the holes to receive the biggest facelifts for Saturday’s third round are the par-5 6th hole (tee markers moved up 47 yards, to 512 yards), the par-3 9th (using front tee location, 164 yards), the par-4 10th (tee markers moved up from 332 to 253 yards), and the par-4 18th (tee markers moved up from 444 to 408 yards).

The tee markers have also been moved up on hole numbers 1, 2, 4, 7, and 14.

The tee on the par-3 11th hole was actually pushed back to 183 yards, and will play closer to 197 yards with the back right hole location.

One of the holes presenting the greatest risk-reward on Saturday will be the 10th hole. It plays just 231 yards to the front edge, and will tempt some players to drive the green. However, to drive the green players will have to navigate a large elm tree and also steer clear of a mass of bunkers which guard the approach area on both sides of the green.

The strategy appears to be working. Among the players in red numbers early Saturday are Morgan Pressel (3 under through 11 holes) and Lorena Ochoa (2 under through 10), although both players are seven shots back of Kerr.