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‘I thought it was a typo:’ Why this course has a 560-yard par-4

Laurie Canter read the yardage sign behind the tee box. Hole 8 at Golf Costa Adeje, it said in blue letters and a number, was a par-4. Check. To the right, in smaller blue: 512 meters and 560 yards.

Someone might want to double-check that, he thought.

“Yeah, I thought it was a typo when we got to the tee, to be honest — see a 560-yard par-4,” Canter said Wednesday.

It checks out. As a defense to players who could possibly cut the corner left off the tee on the double dogleg, par has been trimmed from the course’s standard par-5 to a par-4 for the European Tour’s Tenerife Open in Spain. Somewhat surprisingly then, 8, as a par-4, is the second-longest hole on the course — there are five par-5s, and they play 539, 572, 521, 518 and 548 yards. It joins a short list, no pun intended, of over-500-yard par-4s, including the 546-yard par-4 14th at the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay.

Canter, after his initial disbelief, then played the hole.

During his practice round on Tuesday, he hit a wedge into the green. On Wednesday, an 8-iron.

“I guess with the prevailing wind that they’re going to get around here and actually given that we can cut off a fair bit of the hole, it actually hasn’t played ridiculous,” Canter said on a video released on the European Tour’s social media accounts. “… So, yeah, it’s certainly a bit intimidating on the yardage, but as a hole, it doesn’t play quite as stern as it looks on the card.”

Though doable, 8 hasn’t been scorable. During Thursday’s first round, 8 was ranked as the hardest hole, as players took 4.48 strokes per hole. It was the hardest hole again on Friday, with the scoring average dropping slightly, to 4.46. On Saturday, players slightly figured it out — it was the second-hardest hole, and the scoring average was 4.27.

Canter, who is tied for 21st after three rounds, has made three pars on 8. What’s his strategy?

“If you don’t take enough off to the left, you can block yourself out with the trees and the palms on the right-hand side,” he said. “So I think it’s just being brave and committing to a line. It feels like you’re hitting into the middle of a forest with the way it sets up, but actually there is room there so it’s a matter of getting your practice rounds in and getting comfortable with where you’re aiming.”

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