By Jeff Shain, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
Measuring just 298 yards from the tips to the green’s back edge, the 16th hole at Sheshan International Golf Club might now take honors as the shortest drivable par-4 found on the PGA TOUR.
But a water-filled quarry, not to mention the smallest green on the course, set up plenty of potential drama for the risk-takers at this week’s World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions.
“You can go for the green and try to make eagle to make up a few shots,” said Martin Kaymer, the 2011 HSBC Champions winner in its last visit to Sheshan. “But there is risk there too.”
Officially measuring 288 yards, No. 16 bends gently to the right as the fairway begins about 150 yards in. The quarry guards the fairway’s entire right side, along with a long bunker placed between the fairway and quarry.
The safe play is to hit a long iron or hybrid to the middle of the fairway, setting up a soft wedge to the flagstick. But with such a short distance to traverse – perhaps only 50 yards more than a long par-3 – the temptation will be to try something that will hold the green.
Anything short or right of the green, though, will feed down toward the water. On the left, a pot bunker awaits shots straying in that direction.
No. 16 yielded just six eagles when the HSBC Champions last visited two years ago, complemented by 105 birdies. That made it the second-easiest hole of the tournament, though not as easy as it might look on the card.
“I like when there are risk-and-reward holes over the last few holes,” Kaymer said. “You have a chance to make birdie or eagle but you can also screw it up – as you can at the 16th with the quarry – where you can easily make bogey or double bogey.”