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US Open 2014: Ranking the 5 Most Difficult Holes at Pinehurst

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U.S. Open 2014: Ranking the 5 Most Difficult Holes at Pinehurst

Pinehurst 18th Hole
Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

The U.S. Open Championship returns to Pinehurst No. 2 for the first time since 2005 when Michael Campbell walked away with the trophy. As always, the U.S. Open is among the most difficult tests in golf and that will be no different this week. Here are five holes that will be the most challenging and will need to be successfully navigated in order to be called the champion at week's end.

5. No. 15

Phil Mickelson
Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

5. No. 15

Phil Mickelson
Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

If Phil Mickelson and other contenders want to walk away with the U.S. Open title they will need to execute on the difficult closing holes at Pinehurst, beginning with No. 15, a very difficult 202-yard Par-3. The 15th hole possess a very small green that has slopes on both sides, making sure only the most accurate shots hold the surface. By Sunday, it will be extremely hard to hit the green and a good short game will be paramount to save par.

4. No. 6

U.S. Open
Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

4. No. 6

U.S. Open
Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The Par-3 sixth hole will be on the of most difficult holes for the players this week and demands an excellent tee shot to hold the green. It plays 219 yards, which forces the players to hit a long iron, fairway wood or hybrid to reach the green. And with bunkers on both sides and a sloping green from front-to-back, it will be fun to watch the best golfers in the world tackle this challenge.

3. No. 2

2nd Hole Pinehurst
Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

3. No. 2

2nd Hole Pinehurst
Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The second hole is traditionally one of the more difficult holes at Pinehurst, and it will be no different in 2014. The fairway is wider than it was in 2005 so finding the fairway is a easier, but the approach shot remains one of the toughest the players will face. Missing short on this hole is just asking for a bogey thanks to a bunker and a sloped edge that will cause balls to run away from the green.

2. No. 11

U.S. Open - Preview Day 3
Getty Images

2. No. 11

U.S. Open - Preview Day 3
Getty Images

The 11th hole at Pinehurst is one of the most difficult driving holes on the course, as the players are faced with a blind tee shot to a fairway that is narrow and sloped, making it very hard to hit. Unfortunately for the players, the green is also very difficult, and with the USGA's creative pin placements, it could be a nightmare. Players who miss the green will have a difficult time saving par.

1. No. 16

16th Hole Pinehurst
Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

1. No. 16

16th Hole Pinehurst
Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

The 16th hole at Pinehurst No. 2 ranked as the second most difficult hole in the 2005 U.S. Open and will be just as difficult this time around. It's a 528-yard Par-4 that doglegs to the left with a tee shot hit over water. The green is protected on all sides by bunkers and waste areas, making any miss that isn't short a difficult up-and-down. Coming away with par on Sunday at this hole will be a big key coming down the closing stretch of holes.