Carmel Magazine

CM SP19 Web, 5-19

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160 C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • S P R I N G / S U M M E R 2 0 1 9 The face of the bunker fronting the left side of the 17th green has been lowered, improving the view from the tee on this par-3, where iconic birdies were made at both the 1972 and '82 U.S. Opens. Big, bad Brooks Ko- epka will be attempting to become only the second player to win three straight U.S. Opens, joining the tweedy Scottish legend Willie Anderson (1903- 05). Dustin Johnson, a prolific winner except in the tournaments that really matter, will be seeking redemption from his 2010 debacle at Pebble, when he took a three-stroke lead into Sunday but shot a woebegone 82, setting off a decade of heartbreak in the major championships. Rory McIlroy, the boy king who was the 2011 U.S. Open champ, needs another big victory to return to the front ranks of the game. World number one Justin Rose is desperate for an elusive second major champi- onship, six years after his U.S. Open break- through at Merion. And then there are the dreamers, long- shot qualifiers, fan favorites, aging warriors and sundry other play- ers who could pull a McDowell and come out of nowhere to produce an upset. But even with so many players in the mix, McDowell himself has it exactly right when he says, "No matter who wins, Pebble Beach is always the star." The course has undergone a series of subtle improvements since the last Open, notably the rebuilding of the 9th, 13th, 14th and 17th greens. Photo: Evan Schiller The enlarged 14th green (above) is a slightly more forgiving target, but this brutish par-5 is likely to yield as many bogeys as birdies. Photo: Joann Dost

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