By Hannah Turner, AJGA Communications
The AJGA is hosting its fourth annual tournament in St. Francisville, Louisiana, at The Bluffs on Thompson Creek, an Arnold Palmer signature course. This week, 78 players will take the field to compete in the St. Francisville Area Foundation Junior at The Bluffs. We conducted a hole-by-hole summary of the course.
* = The Bluffs on Thompson Creek Signature Hole
No. 1*, Par 4, Boys: 400 yards, Girls: 326 yards
The course’s first hole is a slight dogleg left that parallels Thompson Creek. The creek is considered an environmentally-sensitive area and goes all the way down the left-hand side. Pajaree Anannarukarn, the 2015 Girls Division champion, birdied the hole twice.
No. 2, Par 5, Boys: 585 yards, Girls: 501 yards
This straightforward hole is one of the only 3-shot par 5 holes on the course with bunkers that guard the latter half of the fairway on the right. Amber Wang, the 2014 Girls Division champion and sister of 2016 tournament player Beryl Wang, eagled the hole in her final round.
No. 3, Par 4, Boys: 410 yards, Girls: 363 yards
Since Thompson Creek lies on the right side of this hole, players tend to favor the left side of the fairway, though the tight fairway demands straight tee shots. Bailey Tardy, the 2013 Girls Division champion and the reigning SEC Player of the Year at the University of Georgia, birdied the hole in all three tournament rounds.
No. 4, Par 3, Boys: 194 yards, Girls: 166 yards
Facing almost 200 yards uphill in the Boys Division, this hole plays as the longest par 3. It plays similar to No. 17 based on yardage, but that hole plays down a steep decline. This was the hardest hole for the 2015 Boys and Girls Divisions with respective stroke averages of 3.648 and 3.887.
No. 5, Par 4, Boys: 349 yards, Girls: 325 yards
This slight dogleg left is one of the shorter par 4s on the course. The water hazard on the right side of the fairway may come into play for golfers who are new to the course.
View between Nos. 5 and 6
No. 6, Par 4, Boys: 404 yards, Girls: 337 yards
Heading from the fifth green to the sixth tee, juniors pass a shrub clipped into the shape of a golfer swinging an iron. With a straightforward design and one of the flattest greens on the front nine, No. 6 is considered one of the easier holes on the course.
No. 7, Par 3, Boys: 169 yards, Girls: 125 yards
This hole is the first par 4 with a green guarded by water. The green itself is small and slopes towards the water, but the hole played as the easiest on the course for the 2015 Girls Division.
No. 8, Par 4, Boys: 427 yards, Girls: 347 yards
A slight dogleg right, No. 8 is a difficult scoring with a big bunker to guard its large green. Zach Tracy, the 2014 Boys Division champion, also birdied the hole in two out of three tournament rounds.
No. 9*, Par 5, Boys: 530 yards, Girls: 494 yards
The Bluffs at Thompson Creek considers No. 9 one of its signature holes. It is a slight dogleg left with a double fairway that provides players with two choices on their tee shot. If players choose the lower fairway, their second shot is all carry over water, so the safer play is up the right where there is no water hazard. This was the best-scoring hole for the Boys Division in 2015 and provided two eagles over the course of the tournament.
No. 10, Par 4, Boys: 432 yards, Girls: 313 yards
This hole is the more difficult of the course’s two uphill shots, evidenced by the fact that it is the No. 1 handicap hole on The Bluffs on Thompson Creek’s scorecard. A hidden water hazard lies on the right side of the hole.
No. 11, Par 4, Boys: 372 yards, Girls: 338 yards
This is a short dogleg left with a tight fairway. The second shot takes a player downhill, where water guards the right-hand side of a slim, but flat 42-yard green.
No. 12, Par 5, Boys: 517 yards, Girls: 465 yards
This slight dogleg right offers a challenging drive down a tight fairway. A lateral water hazard runs up the right side of the fairway, and bunkers guard the left. Since the green is tiered, accuracy is critical for landing on the tier with the flagstick. The 2015 Girls Division birdied the hole most often.
No. 13, Par 3, Boys: 178 yards, Girls: 142 yards
On this par-3 hole, water strictly guards the green. It is the smallest green on the course with a depth of only 30 paces.
No. 14, Par 4, Boys: 370 yards, Girls: 341 yards
Hidden bunkers lie on the right side of the fairway, which pushes a player’s tee shot left. Since it is a shorter hole, players often opt to leave their driver in the bag. The green is relatively large and flat.
No. 15, Par 4, Boys: 402 yards, Girls: 323 yards
Since this is the tightest hole, it is the known as the most challenging off the tee. It is also surrounded by out-of-bounds on both sides, which further emphasizes the need for accuracy down the fairway. No. 15 has the most undulated green with a dip on the front right and a severe downslope away from players on the backside.
No. 16, Par 4, Boys: 430 yards, Girls: 387 yards
This par 4 is the longest by yardage for the Girls Division with a long, flat green. Similar to the fifteenth hole, the par 4 requires a straight tee shot for a chance at birdie.
No. 17*, Par 3, Boys: 215 yards, Girls: 188 yards
With a 93-foot elevation change carved out by Thompson Creek, this hole is arguably the most memorable on the course. It is the longest par 3 by yardage, playing downhill toward the creek. Tracy birdied this hole twice during his first title run in 2013.
No. 18*, Par 5, Boys: 543 yards, Girls: 458 yards
The final hole provides a challenging uphill drive with hazards on both sides. On this slight dogleg left, players have a chance to reach the green in two shots, but since the green is undulated, players may face more trouble putting. Amber Wang, the 2014 Girls Division champion, birdied the hole twice.