Southpointe set to be a different experience in Mylan Classic
August 1, 2013 12:00 PM
Ben Martin tees off on the first hole in a practice round Wednesday for the Mylan Classic at Southpointe Golf Club.
Billy Hurley III putts on the 18th green in a practice round Wednesday before the Mylan Classic starts today at Southpointe Golf Club.
By Paul Zeise Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The course at Southpointe Golf Club has drawn mixed reviews from golfers participating in the Mylan Classic, mostly because it is a bit different than the courses played on the Web.com Tour.
There are tougher courses that play longer on the tour than Southpointe, but few have as many hills, slopes and valleys, meaning it can be challenging for golfers who don't hit well off the tee.
"I like the course a lot," said Alex Aragon, who is seventh on the Web.com money list and will compete in the Mylan Classic, which starts today.
"I know a lot of guys don't like the up and down and side-hill stuff of it, but I think it has character, and you have a lot of different shots you can play. I think it is fair, you hit a good shot you are fine, but if you don't, you will be in some trouble, but I like that. It is not a fun course to walk, but it is fun to play.
"But if you drive it well here, the course can seem like it is playing easy. But if you hit a lot of rough, it can play really, really tough."
Some players were open that walking Southpointe can be as taxing as actually trying to hit shots on it. But for the most part, they agree with Aragon that it is a fair course and a good test.
Two things that make it different for players this year than the past two are the greens, which are a little softer and a touch slower. The rough also is little thicker than usual.
The course should be tougher, but the softer greens will allow players to be more aggressive with their approach shots, creating opportunities to score.
Because of the course layout, the wind will be a big factor as well if it is strong the next few days.
"There is a lot of terrain, and you have a lot of awkward lies, side-hill, uphill and that can make it challenging, and with this year the rough is higher," said Kevin Kisner, who won the Mylan Classic in 2010. "This course stands out as being a little more difficult than what we have been playing. And the wind bounces around on all these hills and trees and changes shots.
"The year I won, it was really windy on Saturday, like 30 mph, and that will shoot the scores up more than anything else, this wind. And the greens are the best I have seen them in four years this week, the ball is rolling true and at a good speed -- you will have an opportunity to make putts."
Blayne Barber, who is in his first Mylan Classic, added: "There are certainly some quirky holes on this course and it is a funny location in this industrial and residential area, but I do like the layout. With as much slope as there is, the greens being soft are huge because you can indeed be a little more aggressive going at the pins and stuff, it really helps."
The par-71 course, which plays about 6,950 yards for this event, is in the best shape it has been in for this event, according to several golfers and PGA officials.
PGA rules official Vaughn Moise said that unlike the PGA Tour events, the courses for the Web.com tour events aren't set up to produce a challenge for the players. The key is that courses fit certain guidelines in terms of the lengths of the rough and greens.
He said the tour was extremely impressed with just how green -- meaning the lack of patches or spots where the grass is too thin -- the course is, which went untouched by the PGA, but rather by Mother Nature.
"We do try to make sure the heights [of the various cuts of grass] are cut right, the greens and green speeds, nothing really tricky, just trying to get the course in good condition," Moise said. "The rough is definitely high, but it is high because you all have had a lot of rain here. We're not like the USGA, they have a different criteria, they are trying to make sure in certain events nobody, or few people, shoots par.
"We're not really interested in what anybody shoots, we just want to make sure the course is in great shape. Honestly, this is the best shape I've ever seen this golf course, this is perfect."
To Moise's point, the Web.com Tour has had two players shoot 59 in a round this season, and a handful of others shot 60 and 61.The cut line has been as low as 6 under in certain events.
He said he doesn't expect that to be the case this weekend because Southpointe is a bit more difficult than some of the other courses that have been played, but he won't be surprised if there are some low rounds.
"I really mean this when I say it, we don't really care what people shoot," he said. "But some of these guys can really, really play, and all we really care about is that we give them the best conditions possible to play and this week, they certainly will have that. There is lots of grass and it was nice and green and thick, and all we had to do was cut it to the right height, it really looks good."