Hole No. 13 at The Honors Course often is overlooked in comparison to the grandeur of the water holes and difficulty of the last few.
That wasn’t the case Saturday in the second round of the Lupton Memorial, when tournament officials decided to have a little fun with the relatively mundane par-4. They moved the tees up.
They moved the teeing ground forward to 280 yards from the center of the green and tucked the flagstick in the front left corner.
It presented the golfers with a decision — go for the green with a driver or 3-wood or lay up with a short iron off the tee.
“It’s the only time I’ll ever say I had sand wedge into No. 13,” joked tournament director Randy Yoder, who chose to lay up.
Moving the teeing ground up to make a par-4 reachable off the tee is a rather new concept that is becoming more popular to add excitement and a risk-reward factor for golfers to contemplate.
“The old thinking used to be that the course had to play the same yardage every day,” said TGA executive director Matt Vanderpool. “Now some tournaments like to mix it up. Tournaments are doing it to make the course play a little different from round to round.”
Hole No. 13 is where mid-amateur division co-leader Kris Mikkelsen made his only birdie in a bogey-free round Saturday. He began it by hitting a 3-wood off the tee.
“I pulled it way left and was fortunate to find the ball,” he said. “I was fortunate to find the green because of the lie. I was fortunate to make a 30-foot putt.”
Mikkelsen is tied with Mike McCoy, who shot 3 under par Saturday. They are at 3-under 141 for the tournament. Parker Smith is third at 142 and former Baylor School standout Carlton Forrester is even at 144.
“No. 13 was a lot of fun,” Smith said. “I like doing stuff like that. Some of the bigger amateur tournaments I play in, like the Anderson [Memorial] at Winged Foot, will do something like that.”
Don Marsh leads the senior division with 72 points on Stableford scoring. He leads by one over Brady Exber and by two over Steve J. Johnson and Danny Yates.
The 50 participants in the senior division combined to make five birdies on No. 13 during the opening round when it played as a 380-yard par-4. They totaled 13 birdies there Saturday.
The mid-amateurs made three birdies there Friday with the dogleg left playing at 410 yards. With the enticing teeing ground, the mid-am field made 20 birdies, 28 pars and five bogeys on the hole in round two.
No. 13 has no sand bunkers but deep swales to the left and right of the green, plus a few trees that could get in the way. And with the pin in the front left section of the green, a tree halfway up the fairway actually blocked the view of the yellow flag, forcing players to attempt to go over it or hit a draw around it.
“They’re mixing it up a little more,” McCoy said. “I think [USGA president] Mike Davis started that. Usually, there’s a little risk-reward factor involved, so that makes it exciting.”
Tim Jackson, the tournament headliner from Germantown, Tenn., withdrew after nine holes Saturday. He told his caddie and playing competitors that he wasn’t feeling well and suffered a bit of dizziness.
“I knew something was wrong after the first couple holes,” Smith said. “It’s too bad. He’s the consummate competitor.”
No doubt, he’d have loved playing No. 13.
David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...