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LPGA players 'surprised' to see logoed wall behind 18 green at ANA

Mission Hills, 18th green

There isn’t much danger long for those players looking to go for the par-5 18th green in two shots this week at the ANA Inspiration.

There’s a logoed structure positioned behind the green.  

Mission Hills, 18th green

Though there has usually been a hospitality suite or bleachers behind the 18th green, there aren’t any spectators on-site this week at the second women’s major of the year. Some players expressed surprise Thursday that the structure was still enacted for the tournament.

“I was actually thinking about what 18 would be like without the bleachers, because visually, that is just a protector for most of us,” said Madelene Sagstrom, who shot 67. “I know there’s water behind it, and I don’t think that would visually be a very nice shot to go for in two. I don’t really know the reasoning for the thing, but I’m kind of happy it’s there if I want to go for it in two, to be honest.”

First-round leader Nelly Korda said that fellow competitor Megan Khang threw a ball underneath the structure and it still rolled into the water behind the green.

“Honestly, I wish they didn’t have that wall there, because I think it would play really cool as an island green,” Korda said. “It’s, like, really close to the green this year. Usually the palm trees, you have to play around them or they come into play, but this year it’s very close to the green.”

The hole measured 531 yards on Thursday, discouraging most of the field from attempting to reach the green in two shots, especially with water fronting the green. In the opening round the 18th hole played as the second-easiest hole on the course, at a scoring average of 4.786, producing one eagle, nine bogeys and one other.

But the tee could also be moved up each of the next few rounds, bringing the back wall more into play for those coming in with a fairway wood or long iron.

“It surprised me a little bit, but it looks good for the sponsors and stuff to have their logos on there,” Sagstrom said. “So I’m happy it’s there for both the sponsors and my own going-into sake.”