USGA change first and 18th pars

Hole No 1’s tee has been moved back and extended from 501 yards in the first round to around 600 yards to become a par-five, while the 18th will drop from a 617-yard par-five to a 525-yard par four. The course remains a par 70.

Home favourite Dustin Johnson and Henrik Stenson of Sweden were the joint leaders at the Washington State links course, after the first day following opening-round 65s.

USGA Executive Director Mike Davis said: “When hole one’s a five the drives are very different. You’re really hitting into an up-slope and what that’s going to do, if you want to go for the green in two, you’re going to have a blind, or at best, a semi-blind second shot which you’re going to have to control.

“If you miss it left of the green it goes down an embankment that’s closely mown and 40 to 50 feet below the green so it’s a really tough shot coming back.

“If you miss it right of the green then you’re in the festoon and dunes. It does allow for birdies but if you’re not careful you could walk away with a six. The same day we play 18 as a tough par four. What’s interesting is it’s a fascinating drive zone in that you kind of have to pick your poison off the tee.

“If you want to challenge the drive-zone bunker on the left and fly it you’re going to catch a down-slope and you’re going to catch 75 or 100 yards of roll and have a short club into that green.

“If you play it more conservatively down the right you just have to make sure you don’t hit it too far because there’s a very, very deep cross-bunker.

“If you get into that, you’re not going to get home in two and you’re going to have to get up and down in two for par. It’ll be a great start and a great finish.”

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