Getting dialed in on the AREA 313 Challenge
June 29, 2020
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
- June 29, 2020
Back on the Tee
Back on the Tee: Rocket Mortgage Classic
The Rocket Mortgage Classic's AREA 313 Challenge provides this week's field at Detroit Golf Club with arguably the toughest task on the PGA TOUR, but one that also will produce a significant charitable contribution for a great cause. Here are the details:
As part of Rocket Mortgage Classic’s Changing the Course initiative – a vision that every Detroit resident has access to the internet, technology and digital literacy training within 5 years – the AREA 313 Challenge centers on three holes at Detroit Golf Club.
PGA TOUR golfers will compete to make an eagle (at the par-5 14th), an ace (at the par-3 15th) and a birdie (at the par-4 16th) during each round this week.
The first golfer to go 3-1-3 (representing the Detroit area code) will have a $313,000 contribution made in his name towards the Rocket Giving Fund charities connected to digital access and Detroit’s digital divide.
In addition, all golfers can also achieve other charitable money by Rocket Mortgage on those specific holes.
• Each eagle at the par-5 14th results in a $5,000 donation
• Each ace at the par-3 15th results in a $25,000 donation
• Each birdie at the par-4 16th results in a $5,000 donation
Even before the first shot is struck this week, the AREA 313 Challenge is off to a great start thanks to Rickie and Allison Fowler and their foundation, as they’re making an $100,000 donation to the cause.
HOLE 14 (553 yards)
A classic risk-reward par 5. The 14th will see a majority of players approaching it as a two-shot hole with long hitters only having a mid-to-long iron approach shot into this two-tiered green guarded by water in front. Those who elect to lay up on their second will need to control the spin on their shots due to a false front on the left side of the green.
2019 stats: 4.655 stroke average; 5 eagles, 186 birdies, 222 pars, 38 bogeys, 1 other
Here’s a scatter chart of all second shots on or around the 14th green last year.
HOLE 15 (154 yards)
A classic Donald Ross designed par 3 that plays longer than the posted yardage. The 15th features large bunkers protecting the front, left and right sides of the green.
2019 stats: 2.969 stroke average; 0 aces, 76 birdies, 317 pars, 56 bogeys, 3 others
Here’s a scatter chart of all tee shots toward the 15th green last year.
HOLE 16 (454 yards)
Players will need to place their tee shots on the 16th short of the fairway bunkers that guard the landing area, leaving them with a mid-iron approach to the green. Many will face challenging birdie putts on what is one of the more underrated putting surfaces at Detroit Golf Club.
2019 stats: 4.000 stroke average; 0 eagles, 60 birdies, 334 pars, 56 bogeys, 2 others
Here’s a scatter chart of all second shots on or around the 16th green last year.
So, how difficult will it be for a player to go 3-1-3 over those three holes in a single round to earn the $313,000 charity donation? Well, consider this …
In the 319,104 rounds on the PGA TOUR captured by ShotLink since 2003, no player has recorded an eagle-ace-birdie (in that order) in any three-hole stretch.
However, there have been 30 times in which a player has made a 3 (on both a par 4 and a par 5) and a 1 on a par 3 in the same round.
Three of those times, the player did it in consecutive holes … just not in the 3-1-3 order.
• At the 2019 Sony Open in Hawaii, Keith Mitchell went ace-birdie-eagle (1-3-3) on holes 7 through 9 in the second round at Waialae.
• At the 2015 Memorial tournament presented by Nationwide, Jason Dufner went birdie-eagle-ace (3-3-1) on holes 14 through 16 in the second round at Muirfield Village
• At the 2005 Michelin Championship (now Shriners Hospitals for Children Open) in Las Vegas, Kevin Stadler went ace-birdie-eagle (1-3-3) on holes 14 through 16 in the first round at TPC Summerlin.
Even if no player produces the 3-1-3 stretch this week, expect to see lots of charity contributions based on the individual holes.
A year ago at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, five players eagled the par-5 14th. If a similar number does that this year, that would produce $25,000 ($5,000 for each eagle) for Changing the Course.
Meanwhile, 60 birdies were made at the par-4 16th. Again, a similar number this year would result in $300,000 ($5,000 for each birdie) for the initiative.
Of the five players who made eagle at the 14th hole last year, J.J. Spaun came closest to reaching the second leg, as his tee shot at the 15th landed inside of 4 feet for an easy birdie (he eventually parred the 16th to go 3-2-4). Spaun is in the field again this week.
So take notice of that stretch between holes 14 and 16 this week in Detroit. It should generate a lot of buzz -- and a significant charitable donation towards closing Detroit's digital divide.