Date: November 18, 2016
Author: Golf Australia

DAY 2: Go hard and go early

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So where is your favourite player most likely to make his move at the Emirates Australian Open today?

Well, to paraphrase an old classic, the ultimate answer is blowing in the wind.

But if Thursday’s first round is anything to go by, they’ll probably need to strike early and late in the front nine with four of the tournament’s best scoring holes in the first eight.

The first, a driveable par-four, and second, a comparatively straightforward par-five, yielded a combined 105 birdies and two eagles yesterday to be ranked fourth and second “easiest” holes at Royal Sydney.

Likewise, the “shortish” par-five seventh followed by the driveable par-four eighth gave up 114 birdies and five eagles to be the “easiest” and fifth “easiest” holes, scoring wise, respectively.

But on the far longer back nine, where several exposed holes played into a stiff afternoon breeze on Thursday, only the par-five 13th and 16th holes played under their par on average.

Conversely, the 420m par-four 11th, which required an accurate drive to split bunkers and a long iron to a narrow green with almost a “sucker” back pin, was Royal Sydney’s most savage defender.

There was a triple-bogey, eight doubles, 61 bogeys and 80 pars against just six birdies as the hole averaged almost a full half shot over par.

Other long par-fours in the fourth, fifth and 15th joined the always-testing par-three 17th as the other top-five “hardest” holes.

All par-fives played under par on average, with the uphill 13th suffering as players lashed huge drives with a helping wind off the tee.

Overall, the scoring average on day one was 73.415 strokes, with the front nine just under par at 35.930 and the back nine a whopping 37.485.