The LPGA Championship returns to Bulle Rock in Havre de Grace for the third straight year. Designed by legendary golf architect Pete Dye, and opened for play in 1998, Bulle Rock is ranked the 26th best public course by Golf Magazine and 49th by Golf Digest. Rick Rounsaville, Bulle Rock's general manager and director of golf since its inception, provides Sun readers with an inside look at the course, with a list of the toughest holes, the easiest holes, his favorite holes and other interesting characteristics of the course.
3 No. 12 // 168 yards
?There?s water down the whole right side, and it?s a long, narrow green and the prevailing northeast wind usually blows toward the water.?
It was the most difficult par 3 in each of the first two years, playing to 3.158 in ?05 and 3.149 last year.
TOUGHEST PAR 4
No. 5 // 389 yards
"It's a big sweeping dogleg left that goes straightuphill. It's normally into the prevailing wind, and once you get on the green, there's a pretty severe slope. A two-tiered green, you should keep on the same level as the flag."
It was the toughest last year, coming in at 4.41.
TOUGHEST PAR 5S
No. 2 // 555 yards
No. 11 // 596 yards (pictured)
"The 11th is the longest hole on the course, and the landing area for the second shot is very narrow, putting precision at a premium."
Both played over par each year, with No. 2 slightly tougher.
EASIEST PAR 3
No. 3 // 160 yards
"It's a little downhill, maybe a little wider green. As long as you don?t pull it left, you're OK. There?s no water around it.
Both years, it was the least treacherous hole on the course, playing to even par in ?05 and dropping to 2.986 last year.
EASIEST PAR 4
No. 14 // 372 yards
"It plays downhill from the tee to a flat plateau between 100 and 120 yards from the green. The green is pretty flat, making for a lot of opportunities for birdie."
It dropped from 4.026 in ?05 to 3.968 last year, making it the best birdie chance among the par 4s.
EASIEST PAR 5
No. 8 // 481 yards
"It is a little easier because the driving area is wider, and since it?s the shortest par 5, it can be reached in two."
The scoring average was 4.814 in '05 and 4.907 last year. There were seven eagles made there in '05, but only two last year.
TOUGHEST DRIVING HOLE
No. 13 // 415-yard par 4
"It's a great driving hole with a big ravine on the right side. It?s a narrow green with one of Pete?s railroad-tie bunkers on the left side.
No. 4 // 380-yard par 4
"It has played over par because of the green, which runs from front to back. There's a couple of breaks that are hard to read, and they often get fooled.
No. 2 // 555 yards
"Already a tough hole because of the length and the stream that plays into the second shot, the green is guarded by a bunker 10 feet below, making it impossible to see the flag and forcing players to hit a high bunker shot to a narrow green.
ROUNSAVILLE"S FAVORITE HOLES
No. 9 // 413-yard par 4
"I'ts just a great-looking par 4 with a big sweeping dogleg to the right, a big lake on the right side and bunkers. From the tee, it?s just a visually stunning hole.
No. 18 // 385-yard par 4
"It's a good driving hole with water all the way down the left side and behind the green, with thick rough on the right side. The fairway narrows at the green, with good undulation in the green.
BEST GROUP OF HOLES FOR EXCITEMENT Nos. 15 through 18
"The 15th hole is a 493- yard par 5, with a double fairway that puts pressure on hitting the second shot. The 16th is a 330-yard par 4 with the green running slightly away, but it?s a birdie hole. The 17th is a 171-yard par 3 from an elevated tee. Anything can happen on those four finishing holes."
BEST HOLE TO EAT AND WATCH
According to Rounsaville, there are two key spots to multi-task. There are concession stands near the clubhouse that give you access to the first, ninth, 10th and 18th holes. By the seventh green, there?s a concession stand below, where you can watch players hit into No. 4, tee off on 5, putt on 6, play 7 and tee off on 8.
WHERE THE TOURNAMENT WAS WON AND LOST IN 2006
Se Ri Pak of South Korea lost a chance at clinching victory in regulation when she threeputted from 20 feet on 18, but then won it on the same hole ? the first in sudden death ? when she stuck a 4-iron from 201 yards to within inches of the cup to beat Karrie Webb of Australia. The 18th had also come into play for Cristie Kerr and South Korea?s Shi Hyun Ahn, who both hit their approach shots into the pond by the green to wind up two strokes behind.
]WHERE THE TOURNAMENT WAS WON AND LOST IN 2005
Annika Sorenstam won her third straight LPGA Championship on the back nine on Saturday by making back-to back birdies on the par-4 16th and par-3 17th to build a six-shot lead. Though she bogeyed 18, Sorenstam wound up winning on Sunday by a comfortable three strokes over Michelle Wie. The way Sorenstam was playing at the time,e everyone else lost the tournament the moment she arrived at Bulle Rock. It was her sixth victory in a 10-winn season.