Does Carnoustie REALLY have the toughest finishing stretch in golf?

Carnoustie Closing Stretch

Much has been written and said about the final four holes at Carnoustie and how they combine to create one of the toughest finishing stretches in golf. 

Rory McIlroy described them as a ‘slog’. Co-leader Zach Johnson described them as “nasty”. 

But do the numbers support the reputation those holes have got? 

The figures available for the first 36 holes of this year’s Open most certainly do. 

In the opening two rounds, Carnoustie’s last four holes all ranked within the six hardest holes on the course. 

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Statistically speaking, the par-4 12th has played as the toughest hole so far, with an average score of 4.447. It has also coughed up the fewest birdies (13).

However, the 16th, 17th and 18th rank as the second, fourth and third hardest holes respectively, with the 15th the sixth most difficult hole on the course. Combined, those four holes played an average of 1.19 strokes over-par for the first two rounds.

Here’s a closer look at how the scoring breakdown for each one:

Last Four

The stats also bear out the theory that the front nine is where to make your score at Carnoustie, particularly in the current conditions. 

It played just 0.781 strokes over-par on average for the opening two rounds, as compared with the back nine which played an average of 1.203 strokes over-par.

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