Divided feelings among players on U.S. Open venue

Wed Jun 17, 2015 8:29pm EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

UNIVERSITY PLACE, Washington (Reuters) - Former champion Graeme McDowell describes it as "a fantastic test" but other players are less effusive about the links-style Chambers Bay layout for this week's U.S. Open.

The par-70 course that stretches along Puget Sound features the biggest elevation changes ever seen at a U.S. Open and with luck of the bounce likely to be commonplace on undulating fairways and greens, it will test players to the full.

"It's a beautiful venue," Swedish world number six Henrik Stenson told reporters while preparing for Thursday's opening round in the second major of the year.

"It's a golf course that's a bit different from the normal U.S. Opens. There are a few deadly places out there, but if you avoid those ones, you should have a shot to up around the green most of the time.

"You're going to get some good breaks, you're going to get some bad breaks, and you just have to hang in there throughout the whole week if you want to do a good tournament."

Northern Irishman McDowell, who grew up playing links golf and won the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, was lavish in his praise for a layout covered throughout by fescue grass, featuring massive fairways and towering sand dunes.

"The golf course is incredibly fast and fiery, as pure a links golf course as I think I've ever seen on this side of the Atlantic Ocean," said McDowell about the Robert Trent Jones Jr. design. "I really, really like the golf course.

"It's got a few holes which have me scratching my head, but mostly I think it's a fantastic test."   Continued...

Jun 15, 2015; University Place, WA, USA; General view of the 16th hole during practice rounds on Monday at Chambers Bay. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports