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The ten toughest holes on the DP World Tour in the 2022-23 season

The ten toughest holes on the DP World Tour in the 2022-23 season

In the 2022-2023 DP World Tour season, the Fortinet Threat Score once again enabled us to see which holes tested the world’s best to the limit.

The Fortinet Threat Score demonstrates the average score to par for the field, enabling fans around the world to track in real time how players coped.

Here, we look at what proved to be the top ten hardest holes from the 864 at strokeplay events across 48 different courses on the 2023 DP World Tour schedule.

Difficulty rank: 10th

Event: ISPS HANDA World Invitational presented by AVIV Clinics

Course: Castlerock GC

Hole 10: Par 4 – 485 yards

Fortinet Threat Score: +0.44

We begin our countdown with a visit to Northern Ireland for the ISPS HANDA World Invitational presented by AVIV Clinics, the first event held after the summer break. The opening two rounds were held across both Galgorm and Castlerock Golf Club, with each player in the field tackling the latter once over the opening two days as the links layout made its debut on the DP World Tour. As a result, the data from the par-four tenth is made up from it being played 137 times whereas a hole on Tour would be played more than 400 times in a typical week. England’s Daniel Brown registered a par at the tenth as he carded a seven-under-par 64 in the first round at Castlerock on his way to landing his maiden DP World Tour title. There were just six birdies from the field as it finished the week as the third hardest hole of the event.

Difficulty rank: 9th

Event: ISPS HANDA World Invitational presented by AVIV Clinics

Course: Galgorm

Hole 13: Par 4 – 430 yards

Fortinet Threat Score: +0.44

As just alluded to, the ISPS HANDA World Invitational proved a stern examination for those in action and the par-four 13th at Galgorm is the latest to feature in our top-ten rundown. Over the three rounds at the parkland venue, there were 20 birdies while in comparison there were 89 bogeys or worse. Event winner Brown played the hole in two over, testament to the challenge it posed. Eddie Pepperell, who finished solo third, was the best performer on the hole as he registered two birdies while Denmark’s Marcus Helligkilde managed to finish in a tie for fourth despite double bogeying the hole on two occasions.

Difficulty rank: 8th

Event: Joburg Open

Course: Houghton Golf Club

Hole 15: Par 4 - 536 yards

Fortinet Threat Score: +0.47

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 at the Joburg Open. 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 his third DP World Tour start.

Difficulty rank: 7th

Event: Cazoo Open de France

Course: Le Golf National

Hole 18: Par 4 – 471 yards

Fortinet Threat Score: +0.47

The closing hole at Le Golf National is well remembered to fans of the 2018 Ryder Cup. With water all the way down the left – and in front of the green – plus bunkers on the right of the fairway, strategy from the tee is pivotal. Event champion Ryo Hisatsune was one of just three players alongside Kazuki Higa and Yannik Paul from the top ten and ties to be under par on the hole across the four days of play. There were 106 bogeys and 53 double bogeys, the most in both respects of any hole on the course.

Ryo Hisatsune-1698845718

Difficulty rank: 6th

Event: Porsche European Open

Course: Green Eagle Golf Courses

Hole 6: Par 4 – 475 yards

Fortinet Threat Score: +0.48

For the third year in a row, the sixth at Green Eagle Golf Courses is among our top 10 toughest holes 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 European 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: 5th

Event: US PGA Championship

Course: Oak Hill

Hole 6: Par 4 – 418 yards

Fortinet Threat Score: +0.52

Majors are often the most exacting test a player can face 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: 4th

Event: Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

Course: Old Course, St. Andrews

Hole 17: Par 4 – 495 yards

Fortinet Threat Score: +0.52

The Road Hole at the Old Course is one of the most strategic holes in golf and it is no surprise to see if feature among the toughest on Tour again after it ranked as the sixth most challenging statistically last season. Due to inclement weather, the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship was reduced to 54 holes with each player playing each of the three courses – St Andrews, Kingsbarns and Carnoustie – once. There were just two birdies recorded at St Andrews’ par-four 17th, with that distinction shared by Scotland’s Sandy Scott and Denmark’s John Axelsen. Tournament winner Matt Fitzpatrick parred the hole on the final day on his way to landing his ninth DP World Tour title, a week after helping Europe regain the Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club.

MacIntyre St Andrews-1716953794

Difficulty rank: 3rd

Event: ISPS HANDA Australian Open

Course: Victoria Golf Club

Hole 17: Par 4 – 504 yards

Fortinet Threat Score: +0.54

A meagre 11 birdies were made on the 17th at Victoria Golf Club at Australia’s national Open, with only three of those coming from players who finished in the top ten and ties. Tournament winner Adrian 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) of any hole at the venue in event week.

Difficulty rank: 2nd

Event: DS Automobiles Italian Open

Course: Marco Simone Golf Club

Hole 8: Par 4 – 503 yards

Fortinet Threat Score: +0.58

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 and second of two during the season. None of the top five managed to finish the week under par at the eighth, testament to the challenge it posed. The 167 bogeys registered across the four rounds is the most at any venue during the campaign.

Marco Simone eighth-1487462158

Difficulty rank: 1st

Event: ISPS HANDA World Invitational presented by AVIV Clinics

Course: Castlerock Golf Club

Hole 5: Par 4 – 477 yards

Fortinet Threat Score: +0.79

And so, we finally arrive at what was the toughest assignment on Tour this season. As referenced earlier, only one round was played over Castlerock at the ISPS HANDA World Invitational presented by AVIV Clinics but there can be no denying it posed a stern examination. Despite being the only player in the field to make a birdie on the fifth at Castlerock during the second round, France’s Gary Stal missed the cut. Brown parred the hole on day one on his way to his five-shot title-winning success.

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