Article

Carnoustie saving the worst until last

20 July 2018 00:58

Carnoustie is renowned as a fiendishly difficult course, a true test of links golf.

But many of the field competing in the 147th Open Championship appeared to be making light of all that, carding birdies aplenty during Thursday's opening round.

That is, at least, until they hit the final three holes.

Despite red squares, which indicate shots gained, littering the leaderboard, the columns under 17 and 18 remained stubbornly lacking in that vibrant colour.

Only a handful of players bucked the trend, the generally favourable conditions doing little to diminish the difficulty of a closing stretch that claimed some high-profile casualties.

Anyone stepping off the 15th green should be warned that the par-three 16th is the toughest on the course, with an average score of 3.462. The 17th and 18th - both par fours - rank third and fourth hardest respectively.

While 17 averaged 4.321, the final hole clocked in at 4.314.

Incredibly, there were just four birdies at the 16th, with Luke List, Sean Crocker, Ryan Moore and Jens Dantorp the members of that exclusive club.

That hole saw the joint-highest number of bogeys recorded - 60, along with the 12th - but 18 had the honour of the most double bogeys or worse, with an unlucky 13.

Among those to suffer over the last 1,207 yards of this famous links tracks were Jordan Spieth, who gave back two shots, while world number one Dustin Johnson suffered a triple-bogey seven at the last.

And spare a thought for Nicolas Colsaerts, who carded a quadruple-bogey at the 18th.

This is a course that saves its worst for last.

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