DAVIDSON – John Peterson was no stranger to difficult golf courses by the time he arrived at River Run Country Club for the Chiquita Classic.
Peterson’s last two seasons have seen the 24-year-old play golf landmarks, including Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga., and Olympic Club in San Francisco.
River Run, though new to Peterson, was far from a cakewalk. He finished the tournament 11 under par, tied for third and only one shot behind winner Andrew Svoboda. But the course stymied the whole field, Peterson included, on multiple occasions. He called River Run’s last four holes some of the most challenging holes in golf.
“It’s always better to have tough holes at the end, because it shows who’s keeping their nerves in check,” Peterson said. “I like seeing tough holes down the stretch. The greatest courses are like that. Augusta is like that.”
If players expected the entire course to be simple, their hopes were quickly dashed during the first round on Sept. 5. Peterson (1-under) was one of just 45 players in the 133-man field to open the tournament with an under-par round.
He didn’t mince words when comparing the closing stretch at River Run to other courses on the Web.com Tour.
“This one’s much harder,” Peterson said. “This closing stretch is harder than any we’ve seen all year. Usually, (courses) will give you a cupcake hole or two down the stretch and it’s almost a gimme birdie. But (River Run’s) are demanding holes. I like seeing that. I like having more of a ball-striker’s golf course, because we don’t get too many on the Web.com Tour.”
Fifth-place finisher Ryo Ishikawa echoed Peterson’s sentiments.
“The golf course was in great shape, especially on the green,” Ishikawa said. “Very fast and dry. I talked with the greenskeeper here, and he was proud of the conditions. It was great (all week).”
River Run is contracted to host the Chiquita Classic in 2014 and 2015, so many of the tournament’s players will be back next year.
Runner-up Will MacKenzie said he liked the course, but he had trouble figuring out how to read its greens.
Svoboda, who beat MacKenzie in a one-hole playoff, offered a similar assessment as Peterson, Ishikawa and MacKenzie.
“You had to hit the fairway,” Svoboda said. “You can’t play out of the rough here. It’s a tough course.”