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On The 17th, Right Has Been Wrong

June 14, 2019 - 4:05 PM
Applying proper strategy in playing the par-3 17th hole is vital this week at Pebble Beach. (USGA/Darren Carroll)

Logically, one would think that hitting a green in regulation would be better than missing it. But depending on where you are on the green, that may not be the case on the par-3 17th. With the hole located on the left side of the hourglass-shaped green in each of the first two rounds, the difficulty in two-putting from the right side of the green has led several players to take on carrying the front-left bunker. And thus far, the numbers back up their strategy. Players missing the green to the left (3.50) have actually scored better than those who have hit the green on the right side (3.64). Many players, including Rickie Fowler, are choosing to purposely short-side themselves rather than play to the fat of the green. “With those left pins, I'd take it in that bunker almost every day,” said Fowler, who opened with a 5-under 66 and has a 1:47 p.m. PDT starting time on Friday. “You have to hit it left of that hole. [On Thursday], I relied on my bunker play to make 3.”