No.4 at Lake Merced Golf Club Already Playing Pivotal Role at California Amateur
June 22, 2015
Match play doesn’t even start for another two days, but the par-4 No.4 hole at Lake Merced Golf Club is already playing a pivotal role at the 104th California Amateur Championship.
Regarded as one of the brutes of Lake Merced, the 4th, which was playing at 441 yards for Monday’s first round of stroke play qualifying, took its toll.
By only mid-afternoon, the hole was playing at a stroke average of 4.461.
“It’s hard to get the right distance on the second shot,” said 2014 NCGA Player of the Year runner-up Jason Anthony, who was one of those who got clobbered on the 4th carding a double-bogey on the hole en route to an opening 74. “On the tee, it lines you up to the left when you want to be on the right. You just have to be super precise on the hole.”
Standing on the tee, players see a fairway bending back and forth so much that even M.C. Escher would be scratching his head. Navigate the fairway, and the second shot is uphill to a green sloping severely from back to front.
“If you go over the green, it’s almost an impossible chip,” Anthony said.
“The approach shot is very difficult,” said Aaron Beverly, the runner-up at last year’s NCGA Amateur Match Play Championship. “It’s just hard to put the ball on the right level.”
Even for those getting on the green in regulation, there’s still work left.
Justin Suh, who won this year’s San Francisco City Championship at nearby TPC Harding Park GC, got on in two but was stuck on the top of the green. He’d three-putt for bogey.
“If the pin is front-right, it’d be very hard to get it to stop on the green,” Suh said.
At some point during match play this week, that’s exactly where the flagstick will be. The 4th will be eagerly waiting to change someone’s fate.