August 13, 2014
By Jeff Shain, PGATOUR.COM
- The long par-3 12th has produced a lot of three-putts over the years. (Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
At 235 yards, Sedgefield Country Club’s 12th hole is the longest par-3 on the Wyndham Championship scorecard. And getting there is only half the battle.
Not only can players find the two-tiered green difficult to hold with a long iron, No. 12 ranks among the PGA TOUR’s most frequent locations to trigger a three-putt.
“You hit one a little too hard, it could go off the green,” said Bill Haas, the 2011 FedExCup champion. “It’s tricky, but I think it’s all right there.”
Not counting major championships, only two holes last year produced more three-putts than the 36 recorded at No. 12. And that was despite a soggy weekend that made Sedgefield’s greens more receptive.
Much of the difficulty lies in the subtle undulations of a Donald Ross putting surface. On top of that, renovations three years ago to convert from bentgrass to bermuda has tended to make all of Sedgefield’s greens a little faster.
When Webb Simpson first got a look at the new putting surfaces two years ago, his first attempt required a downhill putt from the upper tier. It didn’t hold the green.
“They're so fast now,” he suggested, “there are certain pin placements they can't use that they used in the past.”
Five days later, No. 12 proved second-toughest in a Monday-finish final round, yielding just five birdies. Among the 13 bogeys was eventual winner Sergio Garcia, creating a three-way tie before the Spaniard regained footing.
Since the tournament returned to Sedgefield in 2008, five of the six winners have managed just one birdie at No. 12. Ryan Moore was the lone exception, getting a second birdie – with a little help – as part of his Sunday round.
Playing partner Chez Reavie had flown his tee shot into the hole, caroming off the flagstick and back off the green. The impact created some damage around the cup, which was repaired but not fully fixed.
As Moore watched his 8-foot birdie try approach the hole, he thought the right-to-left curler had missed.
“I thought it was high the whole way,” Moore said afterward, “and all of a sudden at the last second it just dove into the hole. It actually had hit [Reavie’s] pitch mark and swung into the hole, which was amazing.
“He looked over at me and said, ‘You're welcome.’ ”