June 25, 2014
By Jeff Shain, PGATOUR.COM
- Congressional's par-4 11th hole produced a scoring average of 4.447 last year. (Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)
Though pretty much any hole on the PGA TOUR has the capability to punish wayward shots, consider this sampling from Congressional Country Club’s 11th hole a year ago.
Triple bogey, par, double bogey, bogey, bogey.
Those were the top five names on the leaderboard after the third round of what’s now the Quicken Loans National, who combined to play the hole in a 7-over par aggregate.
And those were just the leaders. No. 11 handed out a dozen other double bogeys that day, another triple bogey and just seven birdies. Overall, the 494-yard beast ranked as the toughest par-4 last year outside the majors.
“There’s no question about it – it’s a par 4 ½ ,” said James Driscoll. “If not higher.”
And he was the guy who walked away with par in the above sampling. Bill Haas wound up winning by three, but it might have been an easier stroll if he could have avoided a double bogey in the opening round and the triple above.
“That one hole is really hard,” Haas said after the Saturday triple. “I think we make it harder on ourselves. It shouldn't be that hard. Today it was just a driver and a 6 iron probably, but I hit basically four terrible shots on one hole and cost me bad.”
The hole is straightaway, running slightly downhill on the tee shot and slightly uphill on the approach. The fairway slopes left-to-right toward a creek that hugs the entire right side before feeding into a pond near the green.
A player who finds the right half of the fairway will be rewarded with a flatter lie and approach angle away from the pond. Those on the left half must deal with the ball below his feet, hitting toward the water.
Not that missing the green left is that much better, with one of Congressional’s larger bunkers just beyond the fringe. And the green slopes severely off the back, creating a tough uphill recovery.
“I think the second shot is one of the toughest in golf,” said Jason Kokrak, who tied for third last year. “I'm one of the longer players out here, and I hit a full 8-iron.”
No. 11 produced a scoring average of 4.447 last year, exceeded only by three U.S. Open holes at Merion. In 2012 it was second-toughest among non-majors (4.405), trailing only the 18th at Trump Doral.
Even in the soft conditions of the 2011 U.S. Open, No. 11 ranked as the sixth-toughest par-4 for the year with a 4.451 average.
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