In a Ryder Cup year, it seems fitting the Fortinet Threat Score should reveal Marco Simone Golf & Country Club boasts the hardest hole players have faced so far this season on the DP World Tour.
The Fortinet Threat Score demonstrates the average score to par for the field, enabling fans around the world to track how the world’s best professionals and amateurs are coping over the various layouts that form part of the 2023 schedule.
Here, we run through the ten most statistically challenging holes from the 594 that have been tackled across the opening 33 events.
Difficulty rank: 10th
Event: Hero Indian Open
Course: DLF Golf & Country Club
Hole 14: 535 yards – Par 4
Fortinet Threat Score: +0.414
We begin our countdown by recalling memories of Marcel Siem’s return to the winner’s circle on the DP World Tour after an eight-year absence in February. His 14-under-par winning score may have been the lowest in five editions of the event, but it was the highest of the season at that point. In a sign of just how difficult the course was, the German played the long 14th – one of 11 holes to play over par – three over for the week, making a crucial par on his way to victory in the final round. Only three players that finished in the top 10 were under par, while Simon Forsström managed to finish in a tie for eighth despite carding a triple bogey and two bogeys over his four rounds.
Difficulty rank: 9th
Event: U.S. Open
Course: The Los Angeles Country Club
Hole 17: 520 yards – Par 4
Fortinet Threat Score: +0.414
Long viewed as the hardest of the four Major Championships, it is unsurprising to see the U.S. Open feature – even more so when you consider Los Angeles CC was hosting one of golf’s biggest tournaments for the first time. And while there was much discussion – both before, during and after – around the length of some of the par threes, it was the penultimate hole on the course that provided the greatest challenge. Across the four days of play, there was just one eagle – a hole out by Scottie Scheffler from 196 yards. But it was countryman Wyndham Clark who was celebrating winning his national championship come the final day, even if his bogeys on Thursday and Saturday were one of 170 made by the field on the hole.
Difficulty rank: 8th
Event: AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open
Course: Mont Choisy Le Golf
Hole 8: 177 yards – Par 3
Fortinet Threat Score: +0.430
In its international tournament debut, Mont Choisy Le Golf made for a fair and exciting examination at the final event of 2022 on the DP World Tour. There were 142 bogeys compared to just 33 birdies across the four rounds. Tournament winner Antoine Rozner was level par as he mixed a birdie in the third round with a bogey on the final day. Forsström and Ricardo Gouveia were the only two players in the top ten to be under par on the hole.
Difficulty rank: 6th
Event: ISPS HANDA Australian Open
Course: Kingston Heath Golf Club
Hole 16: 457 yards – Par 4
Fortinet Threat Score: +0.435
The 16th hole at Kingston Heath may have proved a stern challenge but it wasn’t the toughest that week as it, alongside Victoria Golf Club, played host to the leading men and women players from the DP World Tour, WPGA Tour of Australasia, LPGA Tour and Ladies European Tour. In the one round played at Kingston Heath GC by the full male field across the four days, 62 bogeys or worse were made at the 16th. Adrian Meronk made a par on his way to victory during the second round, while there were just 12 birdies recorded. Only two players in the top ten and ties registered a birdie – both of whom were from Australia.
Difficulty rank: 5th
Event: Joburg Open
Course: Houghton Golf Club
Hole 15: 536 yards – Par 4
Fortinet Threat Score: +0.468
The trend of new venues causing difficulty is again on show as we continue our countdown with an event held early in the season, in fact on the opening week of the schedule. A sizeable 193 bogeys or worse were made by the field across the four tournament days. Despite ending up three shots better than his nearest challenger at the top of the leaderboard, Dan Bradbury made a double bogey and a bogey over his opening two rounds. By comparison, runner-up Sami Välimäki played the hole in three under but that only emphasised just how good Bradbury’s play was elsewhere on the course in what was just third DP World Tour start.
Difficulty rank: 4th
Event: Porsche European Open
Course: Green Eagle Golf Courses
Hole 6: 475 yards – Par 4
Fortinet Threat Score: +0.482
For the second year in a row, the sixth at Green Eagle Golf Courses is on track to finish as the fourth toughest hole on the DP World Tour. Over the four rounds of play, 25 birdies were made by the field – the fewest of any hole at what has long been regarded as one of the toughest assignments on the DP World Tour. The hole also produced 135 bogeys across the week, with only the par four 10th leading to more. Tom McKibbin played the sixth in level par as the Challenge Tour graduate won his first DP World Tour title on his event debut. German star Maximilian Kieffer, who finished in a tie for second, was one of only four players in the top 20 to play the hole under par.
Difficulty rank: 3rd
Event: US PGA Championship
Course: Oak Hill Country Club
Hole 6: 418 yards – Par 4
Fortinet Threat Score: +0.519
Majors are often exacting tests and so proved the case at the US PGA Championship in May, with just 11 players finishing under par. This marks the first time in our countdown where the scoring average has played more than half a shot over par. Across the four days, 52 double bogeys were recorded – 31 more than the next highest total which came at the par four seventh. Brooks Koepka mixed one birdie with one bogey on his way to a third Wanamaker Trophy. Justin Rose was the only player in the top ten to play it under par.
Difficulty rank: 2nd
Event: ISPS HANDA Australian Open
Course: Victoria Golf Club
Hole 17: 504 yards – Par 4
Fortinet Threat Score: +0.540
As alluded to earlier, the field at Australia’s national Open faced plenty of threat across the two host venues. A meagre 11 birdies were made on the 17th at Victoria GC, with only three of those coming from players who finished in the top ten and ties. Tournament winner Meronk bogeyed the hole in both the third and fourth rounds, highlighting how stern a challenge it proved. As well as offering little in terms of birdies, it also resulted in the most bogeys (73).
Difficult rank: 1st
Event: DS Automobiles Italian Open
Course: Marco Simone Golf & Country Club
Hole 8: 503 yards – Par 4
Fortinet Threat Score: +0.576
And so, we finally arrive at what has so far been the toughest assignment on Tour this season. Last year, the eighth at the 2023 Ryder Cup venue proved to be the fifth hardest hole. A mere 25 birdies – four fewer than last year – were made by the entire field for the week. In addition, there were 50 double-bogeys or worse, 19 more than next highest-scoring hole. Meronk parred the hole on all four days as he claimed his third DP World Tour title to underline his credentials for a Ryder Cup debut in front of European Captain Luke Donald. None of the top ten finishers managed to finish the week under par at the eighth, testament to the challenge it posed. Fellow Ryder Cup hopeful Victor Perez managed to finish in a share of ninth place despite mixing two double bogeys with a bogey.