"Everything has to be perfect," the 44-year-old told Reuters
after having his first look at the course when he played nine holes
More specifically, world number 37 Thongchai knows his short game
will need to be of the highest order if he wants to have a chance of
contending on Sunday.
Pinehurst's turtle-back greens not only repel approach shots that
might stay on the putting surfaces at many other courses, but
players are also often left with very delicate recovery shots from
the tightly-mown surroundings.
And usually they have several options for recovery shots, rather
than mindlessly taking out a lob wedge and scything the ball out of
Thongchai said he might use anything from a five-iron to a five-wood
to a putter from off the green, depending on the situation.
"The key is short game, because the greens are so tough," said
Thongchai. "Tight grass, lot of slope, if you miss a good place,
it's going to be quite nice to play from there, but miss the wrong
side and it's going to be hard to make up-and-down."
Thongchai, the only player from Southeast Asia in the field for the
June 12-15 U.S. Open, is in top form after winning the Scandinavian
Masters earlier this month, though he acknowledges this will be a
much sterner test.
[to top of second column]
"I know U.S. Open is very tough. I think par every day will win."
Even par is exactly what Michael Campbell shot to win in 2005, while
Payne Stewart carded one-under in 1999.
(Editing by Frank Pingue)
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