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Liguori: The Ying And Yang Of Merion Keeps Course In Control At 113th U.S. Open

Golf Course, Not Players, In Control At Merion
Steve Stricker of the United States talks with Phil Mickelson at the U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Steve Stricker of the United States talks with Phil Mickelson at the U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

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By Ann Liguori
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After two rounds of the U.S. Open on the East Course at Merion Golf Club, clearly it is the golf course that is in control!

With so much chatter and so many questions early in the week about how the course would hold up to the modern game, and whether all the rain early in the week would make it softer and easier, let the scores tell the story.

Only two players were under par for the tournament after 36 holes and they were the co-leaders – Billy Horschel and Phil Mickelson – and at only one under par!

That makes the three-under 67’s that Mickelson shot on Thursday and that Horschel carded on Friday, all the more spectacular!

The fairways are narrow with lots of tricky contours. The greens are difficult with the speed and grain tough to navigate. The rough is seemingly impossible. And there is a fascinating mix of short and long holes that can be befuddling.

We’ll call it the ‘yin and yang’ approach.

Although the course distance is considered short by today’s standards (6,933 yards set up for Round 3), the long holes have been made more difficult and the short holes have been left alone and the result is that the variety tends to throw the golfer’s off-balance. Couple that with tricky pin placements and fickle wind and the course will continue to have the upper hand throughout the tournament!

Let’s see who, if any, of the 73 players who made the cut, can shoot under par in the third round.

There’s no doubt that Merion is keeping the top players in the world guessing! Merion is proving, once again, that ‘classic’ is better.  Never doubt the wisdom of age!

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