Closing holes may prompt frantic finish

In the build-up for the U.S. Open, much as been made of the brutal opening stretch of holes which are expected to grind up players one by one and spit them out.

But while the start will be rugged, the closing two holes provide scoring chances that could bring the championship down to the wire.

“Generally, we’re just trying to hang on coming and make a bunch of pars,” Tiger Woods said this week. “But you’re trying to make a bunch of pars throughout most of the day [here], and then all of a sudden you’ve got to change gears.”

The 17th hole is one of the more treacherous greens, but it is a par 5 which is reachable in two shots. And most players will be taking aim at the uphill 344-yard, par-4 18th with just a wedge in their hands. While both holes aren’t without risk, precision shots should yield quality looks at birdies.

“It’s really a great finish, I believe,” Phil Mickelson said.

 

Soaking up the spotlight:

“I am shaking a little right now,” he said. “I’m trying to get used to this. I’m not doing quite well right now.”

Zheng said he came to San Francisco on Monday as an alternate and was expecting to be asking top players for their autographs. Instead, he became the focal point.

The whirlwind tour for 14-year-old Andy Zheng continued Wednesday as he faced a throng of inquisitive reporters during a news conference. Zheng, believed to be the youngest player ever to tee it up in an Open and the subject of many headlines this week, is still getting used to the whole process.

 

Nicklaus honored:

The USGA announced it will rename the gold medal given to the champion of the U.S. Open every year the Nicklaus Medal, in honor of golfing legend Jack Nicklaus. The USGA also unveiled plans to add a Jack Nicklaus Room to its museum in Far Hills, N.J. and will air a film “1962 U.S. Open: Jack’s First Major” on Sunday on NBC prior to final-round coverage of the U.S. Open. “Well, kind of neat, isn’t it?” Nicklaus said. “Take an old guy and honor him. I think that’s pretty
nice.”
— Dylan Kruse

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