Why this sudden course change could help decide the U.S. Women’s Open

aerial shot of the 16th hole lancaster cc and image of 16th hole signage

The USGA moved the tee box up on the short par-4 16th at Lancaster Country Club — and it could help decide the U.S. Women's Open.


LANCASTER, Pa. — If fans are hoping for an exciting finish at the U.S. Women’s Open, they could be in luck.

When the USGA released course setup info ahead of the final round on Sunday, there was one change that stood out more than the rest. The 16th hole — a short par-4 flanked by eight bunkers — will play to just 239 yards on the championship’s final day.

The short par-4 played between 340 and 350 yards over the championship’s first three days, but with the title on the line on Sunday, the USGA is giving player’s a chance to go for the green late in the round.

Lancaster Country Club has been a beastly test for players through 54 holes at the 79th U.S. Women’s Open. The scoring average over the first three rounds of the championship was more than four over, with just five players in red figures heading into Sunday.

While the William Flynn design has provided plenty of challenges so far this week (including ejecting the world No. 1 with a 10), the 16th has been one of the lone holes providing a legitimate birdie chance for competitors. Through three rounds, the hole played as the fourth easiest hole on the course — and the second easiest on the more difficult second nine. The hole ceded 42 birdies in Rounds 1-3, second-most on the inward nine.

For the final round, expect that number to only grow.

With the tee pushed up and the hole playing just 239 yards, every player in the field will have the opportunity to drive the green from the tee box. As the leaders prepare to tee off for their final round, the hole already ranks as the easiest on the course on Sunday with a scoring average of 3.6.

There may not be many birdie chances at Lancaster Country Club on Sunday afternoon, but the 16th will be one of them. And if one of the contenders can take advantage of the opportunity, it could help decide who etches their name on the trophy.

Zephyr Melton

Golf.com Editor

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for GOLF.com where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at GOLF, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with the Texas Golf Association, Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf. He can be reached at zephyr_melton@golf.com.

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