Road Hole Back to Traditionally Difficult Par 4 This Week
The Old Course at St. Andrews will look familiar this week for the second playing of the Ricoh Women’s British Open at the “Home of Golf.”
The famous Road Hole at The Old Course will be a par 4 after playing as a par 5 in the first Women’s British Open at St. Andrews in 2007. That may tempt some golfers to drive the ball farther right on the dogleg-right 17th hole over The Old Course Hotel to face a shorter approach shot into the green that is protected in front by the deep Road Hole Bunker and behind by a road and stone wall. It will also probably mean a much more difficult hole, according to recent statistical data.
When Lorena Ochoa won the tournament in 2007, the Road Hole played as a 453-yard par 5 (the usual women’s tee’s par), the course par was 73 and the total measurement was 6,638 yards. Most players drove safely to the left and played for the right front of the green or just short enough to avoid the penal bunker. No. 17 ranked as the easiest hole (4.765 stroke average) and gave up seven eagles.
This year, the Road Hole will play 443 yards (just 10 yards shorter than 2007), the course at par 72 and to a measurement of 6,672 yards (matching nines of 36 and 3,336 yards).
When South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen won the 2010 British Open at St. Andrews, the course measured 7,305 yards, was a par 72 and the Road Hole was played from a new 495-yard tee box. In the last four trips to The Old Course for the British Open (1995, 2000, 2005 and 2010), No. 17 was the most difficult hole on the PGA Tour that season with no better than a 4.617 stroke average. That includes a 455-yard hole length in 1995, 2000 and 2005.
“Maybe mentally if you say it’s a par 4, the average would be slightly less purely because it's a par 4,” England’s Laura Davies said during the 2007 tournament. “I think if you mind that, you play it that way another year, the stroke average on the hole will be lower if it was a four.”
How The Old Course played in 2007
Lorena Ochoa was the No. 1-ranked player in the world at the 2007 tournament and showed it right away with a bunker-free and bogey-free opening 67, the low round of the week, including a birdie-4 on the 17th hole. She shot 287, won by four strokes and played No. 17 even par (with a bogey from the Road Bunker in the final round). The 2007 tournament saw only eight rounds in the 60s and there were 26 rounds of 80 or worse in the third round when 30-mph winds existed.
The course proved most difficult in the middle of the incoming nine. The par-4 13th hole was the hardest (4.5 stroke average). The par-4 11th (third hardest), par-4 15th (fourth hardest) and par-4 16th (second hardest) made for a tough stretch before the 17th (easiest) and 18th (second easiest) completed the day.
This year’s setup is largely from the course’s white tees except for the championship tee (the same distance the men play) on the 561-yard, par-5 fifth and the same tees as the men on Nos. 1 and 18, which both have only one teeing ground. The fifth hole will play approximately 50 yards longer than it did in 2007. There are 14 par 4s, two par 5s and two par 3s.
Old Course Name Quiz
Which of the following doesn’t fit? (Hint: All are named areas of The Old Course, except for one.). Answer below in Etc.
|3||Valley of Sin|
The Old Course: Men’s 2010 vs. Women’s 2013
Here’s a look at a course yardage comparison for St. Andrews between this year’s setup and the 2010 British Open for the men:
|Hole||Nickname||Par||2010 Men’s Yds.||2013 Women Yds.|
|5||Hole O’Cross (Out)||5||568||561|
|13||Hole O’Cross (In)||4||465||407|
|16||Corner of the Dyke||4||423||381|
Inbee Park in the Ricoh Women’s British Open
St. Andrews is one of the most famous courses in the world, so it’s appropriate that Inbee Park will be making an effort to win her fourth major championships of the season at the storied venue. She won the Kraft Nabisco Championship, Wegmans LPGA Championship and U.S. Women’s Open earlier this year.
The Ricoh Women’s British Open is the only major championship that Park hasn’t won. She won The Evian Championship last year before it became a major championship this season. Park made her debut at the Ricoh Women’s British in 2007 at St. Andrews, finishing T11 despite a second-round 79. She has three top-10 finishes in six starts including T9, T7 and second in the last three years.
Mickey Wright (1961-62) and Tiger Woods (2000-2001) are the only players to win four consecutive professional major championships, though not in one calendar year. Bobby Jones won four major championships in a single season in 1930 including two amateur events – U.S. Amateur and British Amateur – then considered majors.
Solheim Cup Standings
This is the last week to earn points for the Solheim Cup teams with double points awarded at the Ricoh Women’s British Open. The teams will be finalized on Sunday night with the addition of Captain’s picks (two for the United States and four for the Europeans). The Solheim Cup is the next event on the LPGA schedule after this week (Aug. 16-18 in Parker, Colo.).
The current standings: Through July 28
|United States Solheim Cup points (top eight)||European Team Solheim points (top four)|
|1||Stacy Lewis||857||1||Suzann Pettersen, Norway||163|
|2||Paula Creamer||526.5||2||Carlota Ciganda, Spain||138.06|
|3||Cristie Kerr||484.5||3||Catriona Matthew, Scotland||134.75|
|4||Angela Stanford||406.5||4||Caroline Masson, Germany||125.50|
|6||Lexi Thompson||261||5||Gwladys Nocera, France||100|
|7||Jessica Korda||247.5||6||Caroline Hedwall, Sweden||93.24|
|8||Brittany Lang||241||7||Giulia Sergas, Italy||89.38|
|-----------------------------------------||8||Mikaela Parmlid, Sweden||82.00|
Rolex Rankings (top four
|12||Morgan Pressel||164.5||*3||Suzann Pettersen, Norway||7.93|
|13||Michelle Wie||160.5||*10||Catriona Matthew, Scotland||5.43|
|Rolex Rankings (top two,
excluding Solheim’s top eight)
|23||Anna Nordqvist, Sweden||3.52|
|25||Karine Icher, France||3.36|
|*2||Stacy Lewis||8.06||27||Azahara Munoz, Spain||3.31|
|*11||Paula Creamer||5.42||*28||Carlota Ciganda, Spain||3.08|
|*13||Cristie Kerr||5.31||29||Caroline Hedwall, Sweden||3.06|
|*15||Angela Stanford||4.47||43||Jodi Ewart Shadoff, England||2.34|
|20||Lizette Salas||3.81||54||Sandra Gal, Germany||2.05|
|*26||Lexi Thompson||3.34||*56||Caroline Masson, Germany||1.99|
|*30||Jessica Korda||3.04||59||Giulia Sergas, Italy||1.96|
|*37||Brittany Lincicome||2.75||91||Alison Walshe, Ireland||1.28|
|*44||Brittany Lang||2.27||*- Currently in top four of European
Solheim Cup points.
|55||Gerina Piller||2.01||Solheim Cup points available|
|73||Mo Martin||1.58||Place||Ricoh Women’s British|
|*- Currently in top eight of U.S.
Solheim Cup points.
|Solheim Cup points available
at Ricoh Women’s British Open
(Doubled for major championship)
There are 71 players in the field this week who played in the 2007 debut at St. Andrews. All of those who finished in the top 10 are entered except for Lorena Ochoa, who is retired. … Since the Ricoh Women’s British Open became a major championship in 2001, only one American has taken the title – recently retired Sherri Steinhauer in 2006 (her third title). Jiyai Shin won last year at River Liverpool by nine strokes, the largest margin of victory on the LPGA in 2012 and in Women’s British Open history. … Through 17 LPGA events in 2013, the winners have hailed from South Korea (9), the United States (4), Spain (2), Norway (1) and Australia (1). … With her victory on the Ladies European Tour last week, Australia’s Karrie Webb has won three times this year, also at the Australian Ladies Masters in February and the ShopRite LPGA Classic in June. Webb has nine top-10s in 17 starts at the Ricoh Women’s British Open, including a victory in 2002. … Answer from above: The Spectacles Bunkers are located at Carnoustie.