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A 12! An 8 from Rickie! The 18th hole at the 3M Open wrecks the pros

Gary Woodland

Keegan Bradley hit his tee shot 286 yards down the left side of the fairway. He hit his second shot, from 242 yards out, to 39 feet. He two-putted for birdie. 

Congratulations, Keegan. You did the impossible. 

He hit the 585-yard, par-5 18th at TPC Twin Cities in two and made a four. Which is, normally, possible. It’s a par-5, and PGA Tour pros make their living here. Except the 3M Open put its Saturday pin right up next to the water to the right of the green. And Blaine, Minn., picked up its wind on the hole that doglegs right around that same water. And all hell broke loose. 

Among the carnage:

— The scoring average was 5.486, which ranks as the highest on a par-5 in a single round all season. Second is the 14th hole at Pebble Beach during the second round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am (5.286); third is the 12th at Winged Foot during the first round of the U.S. Open (5.264); and fourth is the 12th again at Winged Foot, during the second round of the Open (5.252). The 18th at TPC Twin Cities on Saturday played to 35-over par — while the rest of the course played to 85 under. 

— There were 12 birdies and 39 pars — and nine bogeys, four double bogeys and eight “others.” And no eagles. 

— The water damage. Six of the 72 players hit their tee shots in the water. Twenty-five of the players hit balls in the water at some point. CBS had reported that 28 balls were lost in the water in all after the third-to-last grouping, and Adam Hadwin would add another after that.  

— And among the players who teed off on No. 1 and are five shots or closer to the lead after the third round, only Bradley was home in two on 18 and made birdie. 

Among the individual horror stories were a 12 from Sung Kang, who hit his tee shot in the water, then his next shot, then his next shot, then his eighth stroke. Rickie Fowler, who had been leading the tournament at one point, took an eight. J.T. Poston and Bo Hoag each went into the water to the right of the green — literally. And Gary Woodland played the hole like this — drive 70 yards right; second shot that hit the grandstand behind the green; drop; pitch on, two-putt par. 

The players reacted in kind. 

Sung Kang’s effort on the 18th hole on Saturday.

pgatour.com

“It’s a tough hole,” said Cameron Tringale, who parred the hole and leads by one heading into Sunday’s final round. “I think if you’re out of position off the tee, the layup can be a little tricky with as much wind as there is, and then the third shot with the pin right in the front, it’s sort of a diagonal green, so it’s just tough to be 100 percent sure on the yardage. The putt from past the hole’s not really that easy because you’ve got to go up and over, so I think guys are taking their chances if they hit a good drive. If you’re in the fairway on your third, you’ve got to try to hit one in there. If you miss any of those three shots, I think you’re in trouble.”

“Yeah. I don’t know what the wind’s going to be like,” said Charl Schwartzel, who parred the hole. “Today was the first day that it was borderline basically not being able to reach. I think that will be a big factor. If you’re able to reach tomorrow, that can make a big difference.”

“I didn’t realize it was going to blow this much,” said Pat Perez, who parred the hole. “Eighteen the last two days has been so hard based on that wind. This one was blowing in off the right today, and with that tucked pin on 18, that’s a hard shot no matter what shot you’re hitting, second or third into the green and yesterday was pumping off the left. It’s weird. It was kind of calm all day and then all of a sudden we got to 17 and all of a sudden, boom, we were around the water and it was just pumping.”

And from analyst Trevor Immelman on the CBS broadcast: “Is this a par-6?

Of course, this all came on Saturday. The 18th has gotten more difficult as the week has progressed — it was the third-easiest hole on Thursday, and in the middle of the pack on Friday. 

What should we expect on the day they cut the checks?

“It’s a great finishing hole,” Woodland said. “The wind will be in again off tomorrow so it should be an exciting finish.”

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