The Railway hole lives up to its fearsome reputation
Sunday 17 July 2016
After the first three rounds of The Open at Royal Troon the fearsome 11th hole, The Railway, lived up to its reputation as the toughest on the course.
A hole designed to shred the nerves, it stretches 499 yards from tee to green and has a railway line all the way down the right and thick gorse to the left. When the wind is off the left, which is normal, there is no room for error because out of bounds looms. With the railway line only a few yards right of the relatively small green, the second shot is also a frightener.
Little wonder that Arnold Palmer, who won here in 1962 when the hole was played as a par five, called it the most dangerous hole he had ever played. Jack Nicklaus concurred. That year he ran up a 10 after driving into the gorse, having an air shot, and then hitting onto the railway line.
The 11th was ranked the hardest hole over the first two rounds, averaging 4.455 and 4.705 respectively. In the third round, it was ranked third (4.519) behind the 15th (4.642) and the 10th(4.630). Overall it ranked first for difficulty, averaging 4.568.
Over the three days it offered a total of just 20 birdies. There were 99 bogeys and 54 triple bogeys or worse. Four players had nines; Louis Oosthuizen, David Duval, Steven Bowditch and Kristoffer Broberg.
Henrik Stenson, the leader after three rounds, bogeyed the hole on the first day and had pars there for the next two. Phil Mickelson, lying second, had pars there for each of his three rounds.
The Open, Sunday 17 July 2016: The Railway hole lives up to its reputation