Short Fourth Was No Bargain at 265 Yards June 29, 2013 By Stuart Hall

The par-4 fourth hole at Sebonack played between 346 and 265 yards for the U.S. Women's Open, presenting competitors with choices off the tee. (USGA/Larry Lambrecht) 

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. — For 14-year-old amateur Nelly Korda, her first U.S. Women's Open appearance was about having fun.

So when Korda stepped to Sebonack Golf Club's downhill, par-4, fourth hole,  where the USGA utilized the extreme forward teeing ground for today’s final round, she figured why not attempt to drive the green. After all, the hole was set up to play 265 yards. 

"You have to risk it to get the biscuit," Korda said.

She did, and minutes later was rewarded with a rare eagle after rolling in a 4-foot putt.

"It was exciting," said Korda, who opened this championship with a 1-over-par 73, ballooned to 16 over par for the championship after three consecutive bogeys to begin the fourth round and ultimately finished at 22 over par. "At that point, my dad (caddie Petr Korda) and I just decided to go for it and have a little fun."

Korda hit driver and initially believed her ball found the front greenside bunker. Then came cheers from around the green. She was later informed that her tee shot was within an inch of the hole as it rolled past.

In the opening three rounds, the hole played to 333, 318 and 346 yards, respectively, and fluctuated between being the fourth- and eighth-easiest based on scoring average. On Sunday, despite the shorter yardage, the hole played to a scoring average of 4.09 and was again Sebonack's fourth-easiest hole.

As enticing as the hole looked – the hole location was 10 paces on and four paces from the left edge – there were players who declined the temptation due to the wind or the risk of hitting it over the green. Shots that were hit a few yards long funneled back to a closely mown area behind the green.    

"Oh, no," Lizette Salas said when asked if she tried to drive the green. "I just played it to my 100-yard distance. Plus, the wind was into us and there was a little mist."

Salas hit 4-iron, hit the green in regulation, two-putted and moved on, leaving it to others to contemplate whether the biscuit at the feisty fourth was worth the risk.

Stuart Hall is a North Carolina-based freelance writer whose work frequently appears on USGA championship websites.