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‘Hinkle Tree’ comes down at Inverness

Black Hills spruce became overnight sensation in 1979 U.S. Open at Inverness Club in USGA’s attempt to thwart Lon Hinkle’s shortcut

Removed: The “Hinkle Tree,” which gained fame after its emergency planting by the USGA during the 1979 U.S. Open at Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio, was cut down Friday. The Black Hills spruce, which was partially uprooted by wind, was removed by workmen wielding chainsaws, the Associated Press reported. In the first round of the ’79 Open, Lon Hinkle decided to hit his tee shot through a gap down the left side of the par-5 eighth hole and drive into the adjacent 17th fairway, shaving about 75 yards off the dogleg-left hole. He made birdie, shot 1-under 70 and shared the first-round lead. The USGA responded by planting a 20-foot-tall tree overnight in a bid to block the shortcut. Undaunted, Hinkle hit driver the next day over the tree – dubbed the Hinkle Tree – leaving a 6-iron into the green. Again, he made birdie. Hinkle, a three-time winner on the PGA Tour, tied for 53rd in the Open, won by Hale Irwin.

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