Qualifying is done and big props to those that got in. And if you look at just the scores, then yes they seem higher than last year. The new rule change of stroke plus distance makes the Winthrop Gold course even tougher.
For those out there who are unfamiliar with the rule it goes something like this. If you throw out of bounds, you take a stroke penalty and rethrow from the same spot. No forward advancement. The only exception is hole 12 where if you don't make it in bounds on your initial drive then there is a drop zone you move to.
Combine this with a few fairways that are even tighter and the result is higher scores. This year will be some of the highest scores you'll ever see. Par golf should put you in a solid spot for cash. Another thing that I observed that was interesting was the strategy on hole 5 for some qualifiers. I was standing up on the observation deck with Dave Greenwell watching qualifiers throwing out around the clump of trees in the corner as opposed to throwing across the lake. Throw across the lake and don't make it, there's 2 strokes and you're throwing again from the same lie. Seemed easier to take your 6 or 7 by going the long way rather then trying to cross the water and watching your score add up quick.
The winner this year will not only be the one that makes the most putts but alos the one that keeps it in bounds and takes the fewest OB strokes. This is going to be a fun USDGC.