FRENCH LICK, INDIANA (WAVE) - The Pete Dye Course in French Lick, Indiana, is a secret no more.
The difficult test in a small southern Indiana town held up against the best senior players in the world. Only five players finished under par, led by champion Colin Montgomerie at -8, four shots better than the field.
"It'll become one of the iconic courses in America, this Pete Dye Course at French Lick, it will be a course that many people from around the world, never mind America, will come and play," Montgomerie told a national TV audience on NBC.
PGA of America president Derek Sprague admitted that the organization could look to bring future tournaments to the course. "With all our championships, we look for championship venues and certainly the course held up this week to the best senior players in the world, so it certainly is major caliber, time will tell," Sprague said.
As with any first time major championship venue, it had a few detractors, even Woody Austin, who finished third and took home $187,000. If the Senior PGA returns, don't expect him to be in field.
"I said it before, it's the wrong golf course, the wrong design for this piece of property. You can't build a Pete Dye stadium course on a bunch of hills, it just makes it stupid. As far as coming back to play, I can't see it happening," Austin said.
Most of the players near the top of the leaderboard enjoyed the layout more than Austin. Brian Henninger finished one shot behind Austin, in fourth place.
"It was really fun to just challenge yourself, I mean Pete Dye is diabolical," Henninger said. "It's interesting to look at and you know that you're going to pay the price if you don't hit the green in the right area, but you know, we want to be tested and these major competitions, it needs to be tough, and this was tough."
Montgomerie is quickly becoming a spokesman for the course and the resort.
"Most courses are built on 150, 170 acres of land," he said. "This covers 400, so the scale of this course is dramatic for one, the terrain is dramatic. The holes are dramatic. Every hole is on its own. You can't really see many holes from the hole your on. It's a terrific layout, I'm not just saying because I've won here."
He compared the mixed feedback to another Pete Dye design.
"When the TPC was first introduced many, many years ago at Sawgrass," Montgomerie said, "who knew that it would turn out to be the course that it is, and this is one of them. This will put French Lick back on the map."
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