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Six figures

Tom Lehman calls the 468-yard, par-4 sixth hole "easily the hardest" at Valhalla. The issue isn't its length, but rather its unique layout, which makes birdies rare, pars welcome and big numbers a real possibility.

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The par-4 sixth hole at Valhalla plays "more like a par 4 1/2," says Tom Lehman. (PGA.com)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP)-- The sixth hole at Valhalla Golf Club is a par 4 measuring 468 yards. That’s not particularly stout, even for senior players. But it’s how the hole is laid out that could make it a round-killer for many in the field of the Senior PGA Championship.

Most of the players will hit driver or 3-wood off the tee. A large tree on the river bank on the right edge of the fairway cuts off access to the green for a ball that doesn’t travel far enough.

But the work has just begun after a good drive. Then the field will still have at least 225 yards left, over the river and to a small, bunker-surrounded green set back in the woods. The green used to sit just on the other side of the water, but the hole was lengthened when the course hosted the Ryder Cup in 2008.

“You’ve got to hit two of your best shots of the day to make a par because the green’s not very accepting, that’s for sure,” said John Cook. “Anything you can do to get it up and around the green and eliminate the big number (is good). Four will be a really nice score, 5 is not going to hurt you and there will be very few 3s.”

Mark Brooks won the 1996 PGA Championship at Valhalla -- before the hole was lengthened.

“You wouldn’t really call it a true par 5,” he said. “But it’s more like a 4 1/2.”

Tom Lehman added, “It’s easily the hardest hole out there. Not even close. If you can make three pars and a bogey, you’re going to be beating the field. If you can make four pars, you’re going to pick up two, two and a half, shots on the field.”