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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.


author headshot

Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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