Home Golf The Open: Royal Liverpool’s Deciding 17th & 18th Holes Could Crown Sunday’s Champion

The Open: Royal Liverpool’s Deciding 17th & 18th Holes Could Crown Sunday’s Champion

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Royal Liverpool's 17th & 18th holes

Justin Thomas began his Thursday round on the 18th… before things went drastically awry. The 151st Open Championship taking place from Thursday, 20 July, to Sunday, 23 July, at the prestigious Royal Liverpool, Hoylake, will be showcased via live radio and text commentary on the Sport News Center website, complemented by daily video clips. BBC Two will air a daily highlights programme from 20:00 BST.

When Tyrrell Hatton took his place on the 18th tee on Friday, he was filled with summertime exhilaration. At least, as much exhilaration as the intense Hatton can embody.

He was comfortably two under and tied for the 10th place. A par five would maintain his standing, while a birdie or eagle would elevate it. Life was looking good.

Then, things took a sudden, dramatic turn. First drive – out of bounds. Reload – again out of bounds. Second reload – hard left. Sixth shot – rough.

For a moment, it seemed Hatton was about to excavate a sizeable hole in the Wirral with his long iron, but he reconsidered. Moving forward, he ended up scoring nine and dropped from 10th to 50th place.

Harman establishes a mid-way lead at Hoylake
The Open – leaderboard
Round three tee-times

Hatton was the most recent casualty of Royal Liverpool’s vortex, its unpredictable and potentially disastrous final holes. These holes, referred to as Little Eye – the quaint par-three 17th – and Dun – the par-five 18th, have crushed many Open Championship aspirations over the first two days.

Americans often assign names to their most challenging stretches of holes: Amen Corner, the Bear Trap, the Green Mile, the Horrible Horseshoe, and the Cliffs of Doom.

This practice is less common here. The formidable closing holes at Carnoustie are unnamed, characterized by a resonant, eerie roar echoing through time. The final two holes at Hoylake also lack a name, but they certainly have tales to tell.

Brian Harman is currently leading The Open at its halfway stage. Perhaps he’ll continue to lead three-quarters of the way. Might he approach the 17th on Sunday with a significant lead over the field? A two-shot lead? Maybe even three?

Would you gamble everything on his ability to maintain that lead, given the potential for rain, a strong breeze, and a plethora of intimidating bunkers?

Harman deserves recognition for his commendable performances in his last two Opens and his current impressive 10 under. However, sealing the deal on Sunday will pose a completely different challenge.

Several players have lost their cool on these holes on Thursday and Friday. The player who can keep their composure on Sunday will be deserving of the champion golfer title. Nerve calming agents and potentially a stretcher may also be necessary.

High-profile players like Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler, Ryan Fox, and Justin Thomas suffered significantly on Thursday. Taichi Kho, an unfortunate player, scored 10. Hoylake’s historians are still working to understand how that transpired.

Will the 17th hole endanger someone’s career?

The R&A could practically be blaring the Jaws theme song as the leaders transition from the 16th green to the 17th tee.

Visit the 17th, the new 136-yard par-three with its infinity green, expansive bunkers, and views of the water and Wales. It’s a beautiful sight, but has a hostile demeanor if antagonized.

The green is surrounded by eager spectators, often disappointed when a ball lands safely. The anticipation is palpable when a shot rolls into a bunker or veers too far left or long, threatening a high score.

There is a concern that even an accurate tee shot at the 17th could result in a penalty

Famed caddie, Billy Foster, describes it as a “disaster”. He fears that the Claret Jug might be lost due to a good shot followed by unfortunate luck and a dreadful lie in a bunker – or “coffins”, as he calls them – from which escaping backwards is the only option.

Prominent coach, Pete Cowen, admits he “loathes it. I haven’t heard any player speak positively about it. Why would you make a short par three impossible?”

Cowen anticipates that someone’s career could be destroyed there on Sunday, transitioning from potential champion to permanent chump.

Many more have voiced their thoughts:

Hatton: “It’s somewhat severe, perhaps excessively so.”

Richard Bland: “Not my preference.”

Jordan Spieth: “It could lead to chaos.”

Jon Rahm: “It’s fair because it’s equally unfair for everyone.”

Matt Fitzpatrick: “It’s intriguing. I’ll leave it at that.”

In the first two rounds, Little Eye saw everything from a one to a six. It’s not impossible, and some golfers like it. Travis Smyth even achieved a hole-in-one on Friday, and many birdies were recorded. However, scores of four and five were commonplace, despite mild breezes.

If the wind intensifies over the weekend, Spieth’s prediction for disorder could be realized. If you plan to watch the 17th, good luck finding a spot among the expectant crowd.

The area surrounding the green is packed, which is why the Just Stop Oil protestors chose the 17th as their target on Friday. A more suitable name might be All Eyes rather than Little Eye.

Even if Sunday’s leader successfully navigates the 17th, they must still face the 18th. A par five with out of bounds on the right, statistically one of the easiest holes on the course, has led to disastrous outcomes for some top players.

Some of the world’s best golfers have sent their shots over the white posts and beyond the stands. Some have even done it twice.

Others have struggled to get out of the sand, though changes to bunker raking from Thursday to Friday resulted in fewer difficult, unplayable lies in round two.

Still, these incidents occurred. The bunkers were fairer on Friday than on Thursday, but they remain punitive and plentiful, with the potential to ruin a round.

Not everyone was as successful as Brian Harman, who hit it straight down the middle, landed it in two, and sank the putt for eagle. While achievable, it wasn’t accomplished by many. Sevens outnumbered threes, and Hatton unfortunately scored nine.

Therefore, keep watching. Don’t assume that a leader with a considerable lead is safe on Sunday. We’ve been repeatedly warned about Hoylake’s treacherous conclusion. Just ask Hatton and the others. Actually, on second thoughts, better not.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Royal Liverpool’s 17th & 18th holes

Who is leading The Open at the midway point?

Brian Harman is leading The Open at the midway point.

What are the names of the 17th and 18th holes at Royal Liverpool?

The 17th hole at Royal Liverpool is called Little Eye, and the 18th hole is called Dun.

What are the challenges expected on the 17th and 18th holes at Royal Liverpool?

The 17th hole, known as Little Eye, is a short par-three that features a green bordered by cavernous bunkers and is surrounded by water and distant views of Wales. The 18th hole, named Dun, is a par-five hole that presents out of bounds to the right. These holes are known for their unpredictable conditions and have been the site where many golfers’ hopes for the Open Championship have ended.

What was Tyrrell Hatton’s experience with the 18th hole?

Tyrrell Hatton, who was at two under and shared the 10th place, experienced a series of misfortunes on the 18th hole. His first drive went out of bounds, the second reload went hard left, and his sixth shot ended up in the rough. He ended up taking nine and slipped from 10th to 50th place.

What is the general sentiment of players towards the 17th hole, Little Eye?

Players have expressed diverse views towards the 17th hole. Some find it harsh and potentially career-ruining due to its punishing nature and unpredictability. Others accept it as part of the game’s challenges, considering it fair because it’s equally unfair to all players.

More about Royal Liverpool’s 17th & 18th holes

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