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Closing holes on Olympic golf course should deliver drama

RIO DE JANEIRO — While architect Gil Hanse was on a tight schedule to complete the Olympic Golf Course in time, including dealing with finance disputes and legal issues involving a land dispute and the environment, he made sure to get the exact ending he wanted.

With risk and reward dashing through his mind as he carved the course out of a former sand quarry, Hanse delivered a closing three-hole stretch that will likely determine who stands where on the podium at the conclusion of Sunday’s final round. Part of the stretch definitely will decide things if there is a playoff, for the extra session will start on 18, move to 1, then 18 again if necessary, then 1 and then 17. If there are two playoffs — one for the gold and silver medal winners and one for the bronze medal winner — they will start on 18 and 1.

Starting with the par-4 16th, the last three holes measure 1,007 yards in total and can produce a lot of birdies, headaches and heartache. The 16th is a drivable par-4 of 303 yards, the 17th in the shortest hole on the course at 133 yards and the par-5 18th of 571 yards can be reached in two with the right…

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