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K0326 BC-GLF-DORAL-FINISH 03-17 0880

Golf

Doral’s No. 18 is Tour bully

MIAMI — It was designed to intimidate.

As a stiff breeze tugged his pants cuffs away from his ankles, Steve Stricker stuck a tee into the ground at Doral’s 18th hole Monday and surveyed the landscape. Water down the left. Thick rough off to the right. A fairway that narrows as it bends off to the left. Now, to calculate that wind.

"That drive is probably one of the toughest drives we have all year," the world’s No. 4 player said after successfully navigating the center of the grassy 467-yard corridor.

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Then again, it was only Monday. The four trips that count still await.

No. 18 supplies the Blue Monster with its sharpest bicuspids, having torn into many a pro seeking to get home safely. And as the world’s best congregate for this week’s WGC-CA Championship, it has reclaimed the mantle of the PGA Tour’s bully.

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