fbpx
Hoylake 17th Hole

Number Crunching The Open: Was the 17th as bad as it seemed?

Hoylake proved to be a sterner test than most thought during the 151st Open. So which holes helped and hindered the players most?

 

A green and soft Hoylake challenged the field at The 151st Open Championship. There were only four holes that played under par, and two of these were under par by less than 1%. So which holes were making or breaking scorecards last week? I took a deep dive into The Open Championship stats to find out…

Which were the hardest holes at Hoylake?

According to The Open stats, the most penal hole of the week was the 14th, playing at nearly a third of a shot over par. The average score here was 4.315. This really came down to an overwhelming number of bogeys rather than a few players making big numbers, as we saw elsewhere on the course.

Perhaps tour pros are affected by first-tee nerves just like the rest of us. The first hole came in as the second hardest hole of the week, with players averaging 4.265 strokes to complete the 459-yard opening hole.

The 10th hole came in as the third hardest hole, which isn’t surprising given the R&A changed this from a Par-5 to a Par-4 for this years championship.

What were the best birdie opportunities at Royal Liverpool?

If you really needed to make a birdie, there were only two clear opportunities at Royal Liverpool, and unsurprisingly they were both par 5s. The 530-yard 5th hole was statistically the easiest hole on the course, playing just over a third of a stroke under par.

Players averaged a score of 4.655. If you made a par here, you were actually losing shots on the field. Throughout the week, there were 200 birdies made on the 5th hole. Tom Kim made one of the biggest moves on this hole. His fourth-round eagle gained him 1.61 shots on the field.

the open championship stats

Similarly, the 15th hole had an average score of 4.7 throughout Open Week. There were eight eagles made here, the most of any hole all week.

Despite racking up a few 9s and 10s, the 18th hole managed to finish the week with an under-par average. It was by a fine margin at 4.9625, but this is still fairly impressive for a hole that racked up a quintuple and multiple quadruple bogeys.

Was the 17th as bad as it seemed?

There was lots of talk about the new 17th before the 151st Open began. Coach Pete Cowen even claimed it ‘could ruin someone’s career’ during prep for Open week.

But what did the Open Championship stats say?

the open championship stats

Well, things weren’t as grim as they may seem. The average score for the week on the 17th was 3.0925. That’s less than a tenth of a shot over par. In fact, on Saturday, the hole actually played under par for the field, with the average coming in at 2.93.

So although Matt Fitzpatrick and Tommy Fleetwood’s scorecards may have taken a hit, on average, this hole really didn’t hurt the field that much.

Understandably Travis Smyth’s hole-in-one on 17 was the shot of the week, it helped him pick up 2.23 shots on the field. His average score on this hole for the week was a level par 3 with contrasting scores of a double bogey five and an eagle one.

the open championship stats

What was the round of the week?

Jon Rahm’s 63 on Saturday hit the headlines, and rightly so; after all, it is the lowest score ever carded in an Open at Royal Liverpool. But was it the best round of the week?

Scoring opportunities were much better on Saturday. Expecting bad weather, the R&A pulled up a few tees and didn’t tuck the pins as tightly to danger as we saw in the opening two rounds. The result was a field that scored much better than the average to that point. The average score on moving day was 70.43, over half a shot under par.

So what does that mean for Rahm’s round? He gained +7.43 shots on the rest of the field but, statistically, it wasn’t the best round of the week. So what was? I’ll give you a clue, it was by the eventual champion.

Brian Harman’s Friday round of 65 shot him to the top of the leaderboard. His bogey-free scorecard contained four birdies and a closing eagle.

Hoylake played its hardest on Friday, with the field averaging a score of 73.45, which is nearly two and a half strokes over par. Harman’s six-under second round gained him 8.45 strokes on the field – the biggest gain a player made in a single round all week.

Was a morning or evening draw better?

People often talk of ‘the luck of the draw’, especially in links golf, where the weather is ever-changing. So was there an advantage to a morning or afternoon tee time on Thursday and Friday?

It turns out there was some advantage to an early tee time on Thursday’s opening round. The course played just over a shot harder for the afternoon wave in round one. This makes Brian Harman’s afternoon score of-four under-par even more impressive.

However, on Friday, this wasn’t the case, as scoring was almost identical in the morning and afternoon waves of players.

Hannah Holden

hannah holden

Hannah Holden is the Equipment and Instruction Editor here at National Club Golfer. If you’re looking to improve your game, by changing your golf swing or upgrading your golf equipment she’ll have the answers.

As well as writing lots of features and reviews you can find her on our YouTube channel giving you insights on the latest rules, clubs and tips to improve your golf game.

Hannah is a member at Alwoodley golf club. You will either find her here or driving up and down the country playing in a variety of elite amateur events.

Latest Posts

2025 Open Championship tickets

The Open

How to get tickets for the 2025 Open at Royal Portrush

By

Read full article about How to get tickets for the 2025 Open at Royal Portrush

The Open

Greg Norman ‘welcome to check’ ticket resales for The Open at Troon

By

Read full article about Greg Norman ‘welcome to check’ ticket resales for The Open at Troon
open championship sell-out

The Open

The Open at Troon is a 250,000 spectator sell-out

By

Read full article about The Open at Troon is a 250,000 spectator sell-out

LPGA

Brooke Henderson soars up Chevron Championship leaderboard as weather delay strikes

By

Read full article about Brooke Henderson soars up Chevron Championship leaderboard as weather delay strikes
charley hull wins

The Open

Could we see women entering The Open?

By

Read full article about Could we see women entering The Open?
Brian Harman WITB 2024

The Open

What’s in Brian Harman’s bag?

By

Read full article about What’s in Brian Harman’s bag?
paul casey the open

The Open

Would you want to win the Claret Jug… without the prize money?

By

Read full article about Would you want to win the Claret Jug… without the prize money?

The Open

How much? The Open brings huge windfall for Liverpool

By

Read full article about How much? The Open brings huge windfall for Liverpool
the open championship field

The Open

The Open Championship field: Who is playing in 2024?

By

Read full article about The Open Championship field: Who is playing in 2024?