Short, sharp, shock awaits US Open contenders at par-three 15th

The five par-threes on the Los Angeles Country Club North Course will offer US Open contenders a range of challenges, and the 15th set up to play at around 80 yards could well be the most daunting of the lot.

“I know there’s par-threes here that are 293 yards,” defending champion Matt Fitzpatrick of England said. “Might be able to play a bit longer.

“I would argue that at 78 yards, stood there with a lob wedge in your hand, you’re going to be a little bit more intimidated than stood there with a three-wood in your hand.

“I imagine that the target is going to be very small and you’re going to have to hit a good shot.”

The 15th, officially listed at 124 yards, played at 78 yards in one round of the 2017 Walker Cup amateur matches.

There’s anticipation that it will be set up similarly for at least one round as Los Angeles Country Club hosts the US Open for the first time and a professional event for the first time since it held the Los Angeles Open in 1940.

“You’re going to have to spin the life out of it and hit your number,” American Max Homa said of attacking the 15th at its shortest distance. “That little shot is awkward.

“There’s a couple ways to play it,” added Homa, who set the course record of 61 on the way to winning the prestigious Pacific-12 collegiate championship in 2013.

“You can go long left and try to spin it off the bank. You can kind of go a little bit more at it or try to miss almost right of it so that you’re putting or chipping uphill. It is amazing.

“I’m not some architect buff by any means, but it’s amazing when you look at this golf course. They have two of the longest par-threes that we’ll play, hopefully, and the coolest hole is 78 yards.”

World number two Jon Rahm of Spain, the reigning Masters champion, finished 10th in that Pacific-12 championship and remembers the 15th and its boomerang-shaped green well.

“I remember playing that hole 10 years ago and hitting a great shot.” Rahm recalled. “Landed a foot from the hole and going long into the rough. I forgot exactly the yardage, but it was a lob wedge for sure and it was playing downwind, which it’s most likely going to play.

“It’s a hole that gives you a lot to think about.”

At the other end of the spectrum is the 290-yard 11th, which offers a signature view of downtown Los Angeles in the distance. The par-three fourth measures 228 yards, the seventh is another bear at 284 yards and the ninth 171.

But it’s the 15th that promises the most intrigue.

“It’s really kind of a genius design with the way the green is,” said world number one Scottie Scheffler. “I love those little short par-threes.

“I think they’re good separator holes.”


© Agence France-Presse