Inside the Numbers: First Tee Open First Round at Poppy Hills
September 26, 2014
Friday’s first round of this weekend’s Nature Valley First Tee Open is in the books.
So how did the new Poppy Hills Golf Course stack up?
Playing at 6,879 yards, the stroke average at the recently renovated Robert Trent Jones Jr. layout was 71.950. While Poppy Hills played nearly a stroke and a half more difficult in the morning than Pebble Beach Golf Links, afternoon breezes reversed the trend. By the end of the day, Pebble Beach was tougher, playing to an overall stroke average of 72.024.
Of the 41 Champions Tour members at Poppy Hills, only 1o were able to muster rounds under 70. One of those was first round leader Blaine McCallister, who finished with back-to-back birdies (holes No.8 and No.9) for a 5-under 66.
Further, only 16 players had rounds under par.
The most difficult hole of the first round was the par-4 1st, which played to a stroke average of 4.350. The second most difficult hole was the par-3 6th (3.325 stroke average) while the third hardest was the new par-4 12th with a stroke average of 4.30.
The re-routing of hole No.12, formerly a par-5 severe-dogleg right, was one of the many changes that players raved about.
“I really like No.12 as a par 4,” said Skip Kendall, who had a 67 at Poppy Hills. “To me, all the changes warrant maybe bringing the course back to the AT&T Pro-Am.”
The easiest hole of the day? The par-5 10th, which played to a 72.024 average.