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FOCUS ON GOLF / U.S. OPEN

U.s. Open 1977

June 12, 1997

For the first time since 1964, the U.S. Open returns to Congressional Country Club, just outside the nation's capital. Thirty-three years ago. the course was the site of one of the most compelling finishes in Open history, as Ken Venturi, suffering from dehydration and playing in a mind-numbing daze, stumbled down the 18th fairway to victory. The course was redesigned by architect Rees Jones in 1989, and this year's tournament will be played over the longest course in Open history a demanding 7,213-yard par 70.

The Course

Bethesda, MD

12 miles from Capitol Hill

Hole 9: 607 yards

Hole 17: 480 yards

Hole 18: 190 yards

Turning Points

18: The last time a U.S. Open finished with a par three was in 1909. Since then, the traditional 18th hole has been a debilitating par four. But at Congressional on Sunday, contenders will get one swing at history. They face a 190-yard shot over water, to a steeply banked green. A ball a little short or left could easily get wet. It's one of several holes that could be pivotal in this year's tournament.

17: No. 17, which was the finishing hole in the 1964 Open, is considered Congressional's signature hole, a 480-yard par four with a peninsula green. On Sunday, the lead could change hands here several times.

Nos. 17 and 18 are at the end of five demanding finishing holes beginning with No. 13. "I call 13-14-15 our Amen Corner," says Congressional head professional John Lyberger.

9: And then there's No. 9. It's 607 yards long, one of the longest holes in Open history. And there's a deep ravine of heavy rough fronting the green to make it even more threatening. Foolish to even try to get home in two here. Are you listening, Tiger?

The Scorecard

*--*

Hole Yardage Par 1 402 4 2 235 3 3 455 4 4 434 4 5 407 4 6 475 4 7 174 3 8 362 4 9 607 5 OUT 3,551 35 10 466 4 11 415 4 12 187 3 13 461 4 14 439 4 15 583 5 16 441 4 17 480 4 18 190 3 IN 3,662 35 TOTAL 7,213 70

*--*

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