10th hole the choice for drama, view

IAN GILLESPIE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 9:00 AM ET

For the players, it's a magnificent monster that can make or break a round. For fans, it's a superb spot to watch the action.

And if yesterday is any indication, there'll be action galore at the Hunt Club's signature hole -- the 525-yard, par-five 10th hole.

There are, of course, three ways to get a first-hand sense of the play at the CN Canadian Women's Open. You can roam the course willy-nilly, meandering wherever the wind and your instincts take you. You can hook up with a particular player or foursome and shadow their progress throughout the day.

Or you can unpack your folding chair, park your butt at a specific hole and let the action come to you.

If that's your preference, you can't go wrong at the 10th.

The 10th hole at the Hunt Club has seen its fair share of drama over the years -- including a spectacular flame-out by Canadian amateur Gary Cowan, who carded a catastrophic nine that dropped him out of contention on the final day of the 1970 Canadian Open.

From a fan's perspective, there are a number of reasons to recommend the 10th. First, it's easy to reach, since the tee is near the front of the club house. Second, it features two excellent vantage points: The tee, beside a shaded garden ringed by a stone wall that provides a convenient place to perch; and a restful area near the green and beside the second pond, which gives spectators an excellent view of approach shots and putts.

The 10th also scores big from an esthetic standpoint. From behind the elevated tee, the downhill fairway rolls away from the viewer in dramatic fashion. And with the lazy carp, croaking frogs and a beguiling shade of greenish-blue that embodies the word "aquamarine," the ponds are a treat for eyes and ears.

And of course, there's no dearth of drama.

Canadian Lorie Kane has said she doesn't think the 10th is "that much of a monster." But during action yesterday, when the pin was tucked deep in the green's back pocket, the 10th showed it's eminently capable of biting back.

The hole's first pond is devilishly located at a spot that seems to attract balls like a watermelon draws ants. Several players hit the pond on their drive during yesterday's action, including Malaysia's Siew-Ai Lim, American Janell Howland and Walpole Island native Cheryl Mitchell, who went on to score a triple-bogey eight on the hole.

For Mitchell, who had started her opening round on the 10th, it was an unnerving beginning. As one spectator quipped, "It's a helluva hole to start with."

Although few of the women will hit the green in two, some will no doubt try. Yesterday afternoon, Howland gave it a gutsy go -- but her ball struck the back retaining wall of the second pond, ultimately costing her a double-bogey.

And for those who do find the green in regulation, the deceptive green packs a "big gulp" factor. Just ask Georgetown, Ont., native Mary Ann Lapointe, who demonstrated her jitters by lightly pounding her chest after scrambling to save par.

A test for players and a treat for spectators, the 10th hole gets my vote for best viewing.


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