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300-yard par 3 a problem? Fowler doesn't think so

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OAKMONT, Pa. – The longest par 3 in U.S. Open history at 288 yards, Oakmont’s eighth hole will present a unique test for players this week.

Most agree No. 8, which could be stretched to nearly 300 yards, is closer to a par 3 1/2, with 2 over par for four rounds a respectable effort, but on Tuesday Rickie Fowler was less focused on the yardage than he was the design of the hole.

“If you really take a hole as a par 3 and play 250 plus to possibly 300 [yards], it's probably one of the best ones to pick,” Fowler said. “It's a pretty big green. You've got an area to run up. If you put yourself in the right position on missing the green and not short side yourself, it's very playable.”

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For most players the hole will require players to tee off with hybrid or fairway woods and in 2007, the last time the U.S. Open was played at Oakmont, No. 8 played .452 strokes over par and was reached in regulation 26.7 percent of the time.

Although he said the eighth hole will be a fair test, Fowler did lower expectations for fans and players.

“You won't see many 2s [birdies] there, but take 3 [par] and walk away,” he smiled.