By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
DUBLIN, Ohio -- Although much of central Ohio was under a severe thunderstorm warning until 2 a.m. Sunday morning, Murifield Village was basically spared.
Only three-tenths of an inch of rain fell overnight, so expect Jack Nicklaus' signature creation to still be firm and fast for the final round of the Memorial Tournament.
Granted, there are some low scores in the early going. Vijay Singh shot 7 under – the low round of the tournament -- and first-round co-leader Chris Riley has rebounded nicely from Saturday's 77 by playing his first 17 holes in 5 under.
But come on. This is Sunday at the Memorial Tournament and features one of the best fields of the year. Don't expect it to be easy as the pressure mounts this afternoon.
"They will have their hands full with today's pin placements," Nicklaus said Sunday morning.
The three finishing holes should be particularly challenging. The re-designed 16th -- which is a part of PGATOUR.COM's LIVE@ broadcast today -- has ranked as the toughest through the first two rounds. The 17th is second and the 18th is fourth.
Nicklaus is pleased with the redesign of the par 3 16th, where a pond was added down the left side of the hole. The change was made, in part, to add to the drama when the 2013 Presidents Cup is played at Muirfield Village.
"I think it's an exciting hole," Nicklaus said.
Sunday's pin at No. 16 is in the back left, which allows a player to feed the ball down to the hole. But it's playing to a formidable 200 yards -- which is about 12 and 5 yards longer than in the second and third rounds, respectively, but 6 shorter than in the first.
"They came back to me today and said we might want to go forward today and I said, 'Guys, I'd prefer you didn't,'" Nicklaus said. "You had the opportunity in the second and third rounds and that's where you should have. ... And now the last day when you want to have the golf course play its best and you want to go forward -- that doesn't make any sense."
Obviously, Nicklaus’ opinion was weighed carefully in the decision.
Nicklaus was on hand, as always, to present the Jack Nicklaus Award to the players selected by the Golf Coach Association of America.
UCLA freshman Patrick Cantlay won the Division I award while Abilene Christian Alex Carpenter was honored in Division II, Centre's Chris Morris for Division III, Oklahoma Christian's Oscar Stark for NAIA and Meridian Community College's Brandt Garon for the NJCAA.
Twelve of the previous 20 Division I recipients competed this week at Muirfield Village.