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Parallel numbers for FJ Invitational and PGA TOUR

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By Preston Smith, AJGA Communications

Sedgefield Country Club is host to a premier event on both the PGA TOUR and the AJGA schedule. The Wyndham Championship returned to Sedgefield Country Club in 2008 and remains the only regular-season event played on a course designed by the legendary Donald Ross. The FJ Invitational – played in by 39 current PGA TOUR professionals – is played at similar yardages and hole locations to the Wyndham Championship.

“This is a tremendous opportunity,” said Shrish Dwivedi of Redwood City, California. “The course is an incredible test of golf from tee to green. It definitely tests your putting and your shot-making as far as where you want to keep the ball. Playing the best courses is the best way to measure how well your skills are developing and where you need to improve.”

Statistically, the course has drawn a lot of parallels to the 2014 Wyndham Championship. The 507-yard, par-4 18th hole has proven to be the most difficult for both the juniors and the professionals. Conversely, No. 5 is the lowest-scoring hole on the course, mirroring the trend from the PGA TOUR event. Through two rounds, the front nine average score was 1.1 strokes easier than the back nine, another trend that's carried over from the Wyndham Championship.

“The front nine seemed to have easier holes than the back, so it was key to score on the front,” said Matthew Liston of Louisville, Kentucky. “I think the front plays about 300 yards shorter than the back nine which helps me have shorter irons into the green. The length makes the back nine tough.”

The scoring holes are more than just trends. With two rounds until the close of the FJ Invitational, it is apparent players have to make their move on the front nine. Of course, sometimes it helps to get a few tips from veterans of Sedgefield Country Club.

“It’s really awesome to play here where the pros do,” Liston added. “I get lessons from Mike Thomas – Justin Thomas’ dad – and he texted me beforehand to see if I had any questions. Of course Thomas won the FJ Invitational in 2009. It’s just awesome to see us playing the same courses they [PGA TOUR professionals] are.”