U.S. SENIOR OPEN
Del Paso a Traditional Test of Golf
May 22, 2015 | SACRAMENTO, CALIF.
By Brian DePasquale, USGA
When the 156 U.S. Senior Open competitors tee it up at Del Paso Country Club on June 25, they will encounter a fairly traditional presentation.
A firm and fast setup that features narrow fairways, ryegrass rough with graduated heights from 1½ to 4 inches, and putting green speeds that run 12½ to 13 feet on the USGA Stimpmeter.
“We want to make sure that good shots are rewarded and shots not quite as good suffer the consequences of imperfection,” said Jeff Hall, USGA managing director of Rules and Competitions.
Hall shared that the 6,994-yard, par-70 layout, which was redesigned by architect Kyle Phillips in 2006, will be a very solid test of golf and features a neat variety of holes. The course has five par 3s and the 13th hole will play as a long par 4 as opposed to a short par 5. Holes 16 through 18 represent a strong finish and will be used for a three-hole aggregate playoff that will take place if there is a tie following 72 holes.
“They are not just testing your golf skills, they are testing you,” said two-time PGA Tour winner Paul Goydos, who was speaking at U.S. Senior Open Media Day on May 4.
A comprehensive test of golf often requires players to strategize over alternate teeing grounds or contemplate what the ball will do when it gets on the ground, or how weather may affect conditions. Del Paso will offer Senior Open competitors all of these elements.
“When the golf course is firm, it places increased value on shot-making and course management,” said Hall, who credits course superintendent Mark McKinney and USGA agronomist Brian Whitlark with translating the plan from paper to reality.
It’s straightforward, fair and difficult for a U.S. Senior Open that is being conducted in Northern California for the first time.
“The USGA does a wonderful job finding that inner soul to be a champion,” said Goydos, who has won twice on the Champions Tour since last September and will compete in his first U.S. Senior Open next month. “But that’s what they do best; they challenge you, the person.”
U.S. Senior Open Notes: Del Paso Country Club has previously hosted four USGA championships, including the 1982 U.S. Women’s Open … The USGA received 2,445 entries for the 2015 U.S. Senior Open … Colin Montgomerie, the 2014 champion, and 10 other Senior Open champions are fully exempt from having to qualify for the championship. They are: Olin Browne (2011), Brad Bryant (2007), Roger Chapman (2012), Dave Eichelberger (1999), Fred Funk (2009), Hale Irwin (1998, 2000), Peter Jacobsen (2004), Bernhard Langer (2010), Kenny Perry (2013) and Eduardo Romero (2008) … Sectional qualifying, played over 18 holes, is being conducted at 34 sites around the country between May 11 and June 4 … Fox and Fox Sports 1 will air at least 20 hours of live coverage throughout the championship’s four rounds … Tickets for the championship are available for purchase here … Weekly tickets are $125 and Trophy Club tickets are $250.
Brian Depasquale is a manager of championship communications for the USGA. Email him firstname.lastname@example.org.