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RTO announces new course layout for 2011 tourney

By ThisIsReno

SUBMITTED NEWS RELEASE

The Reno-Tahoe Open announces an exciting change to the 2011 tournament, Aug. 1 – 7, 2011. After 12 years of playing the front and back nine in opposing order, tournament officials today announced that Montrêux will now be played the way it was originally laid out by golf legend and course architect Jack Nicklaus. The change will make the tournament’s finishing hole a risk-reward par 5 as opposed to the relatively straightforward par 4 that has been used as the finishing hole since the tournament’s inception. The new finish also bears the name, “Big Shooter” due to the anything-can-happen, shoot-out style tournament finish it creates.

At 616 yards, Hole 18 is a downhill par 5 that has seen scores as low as two and as high as nine in past years. It presents a challenging drive with a hill on the left, out of bounds area on the right and tough terrain through the fairway if drives are hit on the wrong line. Once in the fairway, players have a choice to go for the green in two, bringing water and difficult rough into play, or play it safe by laying-up, thereby opening the door for competitors to make an aggressive play and gain strokes on the field.

In 2010, the hole played to a stroke average of 4.956, yielding one double eagle, three eagles and 121 birdies out of 388 scores posted. However, players also recorded eight double bogeys, 11 triple bogeys, or worse during the 12th annual tournament. In comparison, the former 18th hole played to a stroke average of 3.897 and yielded no eagles, 93 birdies, four double bogeys and one triple or worse.

“With the potential for a seven-shot swing on the finishing hole of the tournament, fans can rest assured that the Reno-Tahoe Open won’t be decided until the final putt is holed on 18. This is going to be one of the most exciting finishing holes on the PGA TOUR,” said Tournament Executive Director Jana Smoley. “When you’re under the gun it’s easy to make a mistake and this finishing hole will force a player’s hand if the tournament is close at the end. It should make for some very exciting action.”

In addition to the difficulties faced on the new 18, holes 16 and 17 wrap up what is known as one of the toughest series of holes on the course. The new par-3 No. 16 played as the most difficult hole on the course in 2010, playing to a stroke average of 3.299 (+.299), and the new par-4 No. 17 was the second-hardest hole, playing to a stroke average of 4.284 (+.284).

Tournament host and PGA TOUR professional Scott McCarron remarked, “As someone who has played Montrêux since the very beginning, I’m happy to see the course being played the way Jack intended. It has a much better finish this way and with the layout and difficulty of the last three holes it’s really any man’s game if he’s within five shots of the lead.”

The reversal of the nines for tournament play occurred during the tournament’s first season because the layout was thought to better accommodate television crews. Course designer and Hall of Fame golfer Jack Nicklaus noted his excitement at seeing Montrêux return to its original layout for the 2011 tournament, saying, “I’m glad because I think that the original finish on the golf course is exciting and stronger than the television finish.”

Montrêux is the third longest course on the PGA TOUR at 7,472 yards. However, at elevation, players won’t be shy about challenging the 616-yard finishing hole if it means picking up valuable strokes when they are needed most.

“Not only does the final series of holes make for an exciting finish to the tournament, it also gives fans at home and spectators on the course a new, more compelling view of the final holes,” Smoley added. “Last year we saw the tournament’s first double-eagle sunk in just two shots on what was then tournament nine, but we also saw multiple nines. Now that’s a great finish. It also provides us with greater inventory for corporate sponsors and those visiting in our hospitality tents, with more space and better views.”

For more information on the 13th annual Reno-Tahoe Open, including ticket sales, vacation packages, volunteer and sponsorship opportunities, visit www.RenoTahoeOpen.com or contact the tournament office at 775-322-3900.

The 13th annual Reno-Tahoe Open at Montrêux, an official PGA TOUR event, takes place Aug. 1 – 7, 2011 at Montrêux Golf & Country Club in Reno, Nev. The tournament is a full-field stop during the PGA TOUR Regular Season and is part of the FedExCup series, a points competition for PGA TOUR professionals. The internationally-televised tournament brings in millions of dollars in coverage for the Reno-Tahoe region through its affiliation with The Golf Channel as it follows 132 PGA TOUR professionals competing for a share of the tournament’s $3 million purse. The Reno-Tahoe Open is operated and managed by the Reno-Tahoe Open Foundation, comprised of key sponsors including Eldorado Hotel Reno, Montrêux Development Group and NV Energy.