2nd Leg of FedEx Playoffs Commences
NORTON, MA. Since 2007 TPC Boston has been the host site for the second leg of the annual FedEx Cup Playoffs conducted by the PGA TOUR. For the first ten events the primary sponsor was Deutsche Bank. In 2017 Dell Technologies assumed that role and is doing so one last time this year. The stakes for the event are clear — only the top 100 players advance to the 3rd leg of the playoffs next week with the BMW Championship.
Originally designed by the Arnold Palmer company — the layout was seriously tweaked 2006 through the efforts of Gil Hanse and former PAG TOUR player Brad Faxon. Stretching nearly 7,300 yards the par-72 layout provides a healthy mixture of holes — both short and long.
Four holes are likely to play a major factor in determining not only the winner of the event but which ones advance to Aronimink in the greater Philadelphia area.
4th Hole / 298 Yards / Par-4
Coming early in the round this tempting short par-4 will lure players to go for the green from the tee. Hitting and holding the green will be the challenge as the green is well-protected by a large and deep frontal bunker. There’s bit of room to the right for players to attempt to sneak a tee shot onto the green from that side. The putting surface has plenty of movement so those looking for an eagle will have to combine superior length and uncanny accuracy. If there’s a hole that can jumpstart the position of any player the short 4th will clearly play a clear role.
9th Hole / 472 Yards / Par-4
Closing out the outward half of holes is the 9th. This is a long dog-leg left hole and it pays to play as close as possible to the right side of the fairway in order to open up the green visually. Players missing left will find gnarly rough and have next to nothing in terms of seeing the green. The approach is also one of the more challenging ones at TPC / Boston. There is a large bunker positioned in the center just prior to the green. The bunker is not immediately adjacent to the green and gauging the correct trajectory and distance is needed. There is a number of interesting pin locations — the more challenging will be towards the front.
11th Hole / 231 Yards / Par-3
The most demanding of the par-3 holes at TPC / Boston. Often the hole plays into the prevailing wind and when rounds are finishing up the sun will be setting so concentration for the task at-hand is imperative. The hole is slightly elevated so the actual distance is a bit longer. The putting surface is protected fiercely by a huge greenside bunker that must be carried when the pin is cut behind it. In all probability no less than two rounds will have the pin cut tightly near it. The green is especially contoured so failure to hit close enough can result in a three-putt. Proper club selection at the tee determines so much here and those who are successful can propel themselves to a stellar conclusion to their round.
18th Hole / 530 Yards / Par-5
Nothing is ever decided at TPC / Boston till the final hole is played. The par-5 is certainly reachable for many in the field. The key starts at the tee — bunkers are placed in the middle and can be cleared by the players. The ideal line from the tee is one favoring a left-to-right ball flight. There is another bunker guarding the far right side and it must be avoided in order to give players the option to hit the green in two shots. Players working the ball correctly have a small landing area on the left side of the fairway for an ideal “go to” position.
The green is slightly elevated with fall-offs to all sides. The players must carry a fronting hazard fill with a range of plant life and those hitting into it will not be able to escape. Those bailing out left will need to avoid a solitary bunker that awaits the slightest pull. Even if one avoids the bunker the wherewithal to pitch the ball onto the green requires a deft touch as the ball must be hit sufficiently high enough to cover the leading edge of the green but ever so soft as to not run quickly away. Any number from eagle to double-bogey is certainly possible and those in contention are fully aware of the ultimate risk / reward that awaits them with the title clearly on the line.
*Photos Courtesy of — Chip Henderson Golf Photography