Building off all of Andy’s points above … man, did I find the third hole to be an absolute thrill to watch all morning. It lived up to all the pregame hype. This is the other major spot where the in-course out of bounds comes into play. Whether directly or not, that impacts every shot until the ball is up around the green. Just as I tweeted on how dialed Cam Smith looked through the first two holes, he got to the third tee and the OB clearly messed with him. The result was a hideous chunk-tug that went some 210 yards left into the scrub. Xander Schauffele followed
The problem with protecting against going OB on the tee shot is that a miss left can then bring that same issue more prominently into play on the approach shot. Collin Morikawa drove it left, and then rocketed one right OB trying to muscle it out on his second shot. He made double bogey. The leader Lamprecht made a birdie there earlier in the day after ripping driver 330 yards over everything. The players truly don’t seem to know what the best play is off the tee yet, and that doubt will continue as winds vacillate in direction and strength over the next few days.
This, combined with Andy’s notes on the intrigue of the 18th above, makes you wonder even more about that newfangled par-3 17th, motivated not by history, but the desire for championship drama like that seen at the penultimate hole at TPC Sawgrass. The two most exciting holes and some of the most thrilling shots to watch in round one were owing to the design around the course’s most historical hazard and penalty: that plot of internal OB.
This piece originally appeared in The Fried Egg newsletter. Subscribe for free and receive golf news and insight every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.