Tahlequah Daily Press


June 15, 2013

No. 13 providing plenty of entertainment at US Open

ARDMORE, Pa. — With the tease of an ace on each tee shot, players count down to the 13th hole.

It's where the shortest hole at Merion Golf Club waits.

And at the U.S. Open, that makes 13 the life of the 18-hole party, the off-campus bash down the block from the staid library.

Playing in his second U.S. Open, unheralded Scott Langley and Morgan Hoffmann noticed they were turning into Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy as they walked toward 13. Fans tailed their group all the way to the par-3 hole Friday.

"I was walking up the fairway and was like, look at all these people that suddenly showed up to watch us," Langley said, laughing. "They're hoping for something to happen. I'm hoping to give it to them."

Lose your course map? Not a problem. Follow the roar from a crowd that sounds like it's watching a zigzagging 90-yard touchdown run more than just another tee shot. Almost every shot lands about 20 feet from the pin, prompting booming "Ohs!" from the crowd as each ball crawls toward the cup.

The bleacher seats were filled with hundreds of fans on perhaps the only hole where they wouldn't have to budge to watch first shot to last. The overhead walkway was lined with fans hoping a bird's eye view on some birdies.

Stan Feldman, of Huntington Valley, spent a few hours Thursday and Friday in a second-row bleacher seat that lined the right of the course.

"You just expect every guy to hit an ace," he said. "Even the ones you never heard of."

Leave the driver and the power game in the bag. The sand wedge was the club of choice for every tee shot.

"It's only a wedge shot, but you don't want to be missing that green, either," said John Senden, who parred the hole.

The hole for the second round measured a taut 123 yards — about three of them could snugly fit into the 464-yard 14th hole. The distance gives the field a needed mental break from three other daunting par-3s (third hole, 256 yards; ninth hole, 236 yards; and 17th hole, 246 yards).

"You can somewhat turn the brain off," said Langley, who made par.

All that's missing on the setup is in the windmill.

At Merion, 13 has been nothing but lucky for the leaders down to the ones buried on the leaderboard. The hole had more birdies (74) than any other and the fewest bogeys (28) by end of play Friday.

"The pressure's on to make a birdie, almost," said 2006 U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy. "It's the only one where you can take a breath. It's really difficult to not hit inside 20 feet putting uphill."

The lone challenge should have come from a deep, gaping bunker in front of the green that obscures the putting surface. But ball after ball soared over the sand and onto the green.

That made fans hold their breath as they followed the hopeful flight for a hole in one.

Even scuffling golfers made quick work of 13.

Kevin Streelman was a whopping 9 over by the time he trudged up to 13. But his shot dropped just to the right of the pin as the crowd went wild. One putt later, he had a birdie on the scorecard — and a rare reason to feel good about Merion.

Streelman flipped his club to his caddie and walked off with a smile and to a rousing ovation — and the rare delight of being in the red.

Text Only
  • McMillan-blackboard.jpg Hometown brothers team up for RiverHawks football

    Northeastern State’s football program will include a pair of hometown brothers for the 2014 season.
    Mason McMillan returns for his sophomore season, and this year he will be reunited with his younger brother, Kourtland. The brothers graduated from Tahlequah High School – Mason in 2013, followed by Kourtland in 2014. At Tahlequah, Mason and Kourtland shared the gridiron for one season.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Yurcich ready for second season

    With the 2014 season on the brink, Mike Yurcich, Oklahoma State University football offensive coordinator, is ready for his second year at the helm after coaching a powerful offensive squad a year ago.

    July 28, 2014

  • James_Ethan-(12)-vs.#2CC63C.jpg Back on the line

    RiverHawks’ Ethan James returns to the line healthy and ready for 2014

    RiverHawks offensive lineman Ethan James will enter the 2014 season healthy – something the team, and James, were not in 2013.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • Sooners shifting several positions

    Experience comes from encountering the same things in the same ways over and over again. Oklahoma’s Geneo Grissom and Julian Wilson have that at defensive end and nickleback in bunches.
    However, both will be seeing new things when practice begins. Grissom is moving to outside linebacker. Wilson will be getting a look at cornerback as his senior season begins

    July 25, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Better police needed for college teams enticed to cheat

    The NCAA once cracked down on colleges that went too far luring top prospects, then it targeted teams that lathered players with special treatment. That was until the NCAA's get-tough approach backfired, rendering it ineffective and creating an opportunity for those who want to play dirty.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • BobBowlsby.jpg Media Week: Change is coming

    Changes are coming to college athletics.
    That was the theme of the state of the conference speech by Big 12 Conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby on the first day of Big 12 Football Media Days.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Peterson.jpg Cowboy quandary: OSU defense trying to replace seven starters

    A year after the best defensive team in the Mike Gundy era, the questions now surround how those few returning starters and second-year defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer can maintain that high level of efficiency.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Really one true champion?

    I decided to spare the colleagues in front of me – and myself from making a scene – by holding back flipping my table at the Big 12 Conference Football Media Days in Dallas.
    I had become exhausted by the constant use and misrepresentation by the Big 12 with their moniker of “One True Champion.” If they are going to live with the slogan, then they need to abide by that slogan.
    Perhaps its a simple case that they are keeping constant with the poor math of the 10-team Big 12 Conference.

    July 23, 2014

  • Hill expected to be used in multiple facets

    The picture became a little clearer recently of how Big 12 Conference Newcomer of the Year Tyreek Hill will be utilized in the Oklahoma State offense.
    And the picture is rather wide.

    July 23, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Expectations too high for a rehabbing Woods

    Tiger Woods finished near bottom last weekend at Royal Liverpool, drawing out his drought of major tournament wins. Despite the disappointing showing, Woods' return to form remains a matter of when, not if.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo


Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
     View Results
Press Sports Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage