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PGA Championship, Monday report

Oak Hill a stern, fair challenge from start to finish

Stars of the game march down the fairways, and thousands follow them, looking for any glimpse of their golfing heroes on a grand and historic stage.

It's Oak Hill, it's the PGA Championship - and it's just Monday morning.

In the suburbs of Rochester, forces are gathering at the grand old Donald Ross masterpiece for a memorable final major of the 2013 season. And they're welcomed on Monday by bright sunshine and pleasant temperatures, which should not vary too much during the week, though some rain might show up early in the tournament.

Through the major season, the cast of characters remains basically the same, with old champions present at Augusta and unknown qualifiers filling the fields at both Opens, plus 20 club professionals that get to live their dream here at the PGA.

Always, though, the starring role is saved for the course itself. Oak Hill's East course has seen it all - the PGA and U.S. Open three times each, a Ryder Cup, two U.S. Amateurs, a U.S. Senior Open and a Senior PGA. Every great golfer of the last 75 years has given Oak Hill a try.

And what will the current pros find in the 2013 edition of the PGA? Well, here's a hole-by-hole description of Oak Hill, both its challenges and opportunities...

1st Hole - Once a real bear, now it's as gentle a 460-yard start as you could want. So long as you can keep that tee shot in the shadow of Oak Hill's clubhouse out of the Kentucky bluegrass rough, it should bound 20 to 30 extra yards just short of Allen's Creek, leaving a wedge approach. A green with subtle breaks, but honest.

2nd Hole - The whole key on this 401-yard hole that wanders left will be the green. Just about everyone will drive with iron or fairway metal to find short grass and avoid sand. Then the trick is to keep the ball below any hole location on a typical Ross crowned green with one of the most severe tilts on the course. Played right, a real birdie chance early.

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