14 September 2023
The penultimate event of the Rolex Series takes place at Wentworth Club, England. Defending champion Shane Lowry will be looking to defend his title ahead of the Ryder Cup later in September.
With a final score of -17, a hole where everyone is looking to make a birdie on Tour is the 18th, Lowry birdied the Par 5 every round last year and on the final day it made all the difference, winning by one stroke.
A dogleg right with fairway bunkers down the left and water before the green, the hole rewards accuracy and punishes misplaced shots. To win on Sunday, players will need to make birdie here, but how do amateurs play it?
Using Shot Scope data, we can analyse how the typical golfer navigates the risk reward 18th hole. With over 3 million shots recorded and 180k users adding to our database on a daily basis.
The hole, for the typical amateur, usually plays 0.57 strokes over par which is relatively low but lower handicaps would look to captialise on the scoring opportunities that Par 5s present. A breakdown of how this scoring average can be seen below.
Scoring vs. Par
|Doubles or worse||17%|
Short game is crucial on 18 and knowing where to miss can make a difference. The most common miss for an amateur is short, this would negatively impact scoring due to the water hazard and very narrow strip of fairway to land in.
Likewise, if players layup, then they must chip over the water which can be a nervy shot for many amateurs. If successful in navigating the water, then players get up and down with a fairly high success rate, 48%, and an average proximity of 15ft.
Missing right is equally challenging as players may find themselves in a bunker or, should they miss it, must navigate a change in elevation and have the daunting prospect of chipping towards the water hazard. Finding the bunker is disastrous on this hole, evidenced by the scoring:
Why might this be? Sand saves are difficult to make at the best of times and with quick greens and water long, players could find themselves in the hazard from here. The Pros are more comfortable from the sand but for amateurs, the right bunker may ruin the round.
From the data available, missing the green long gives the best scoring opportunity.
Shots to Finish
|From Hazard (including penalty drop)||3.5|
|From Bunker Right||3.2|
Very few players miss this green long, 5%, these players had great success with up and down attempts, 78%. Perhaps depending on pin location, players do not have to chip towards the water and so are less nervous. Regardless, it would appear that this chip is easier and average proximity for amateurs is 9ft, not a tap-in by any means but definitely makeable.
Lastly, we look at putting where the average first putt distance is 14ft. This would suggest that the typical amateur is chipping onto this green as the average proximity is too close for where they would be playing their second shot from.
As a result, the number of 3 putts are low at 6%. This could be because the first putt is from a distance where players may not necessarily be holing them, but can get it close to a point where they are tapping them in. Any 3 putts would be a result of a very poor first putt if they are starting from 14ft on average.
For players looking to win the BMW Championship at Wentworth.
They have to score well on 18 and from the data we would suggest missing long is the best strategy, or alternatively laying up in front of the water and playing over the water.
Looking to learn this sort of information about your own game? Shot Scope offers a range of shot tracking products to suit every golfer. Improve your game today with Shot Scope!
Did you know that 84% of missed putts over five feet finish short? Or, that your typical drive is nearly 30 yards shorter than your Sunday best drive? These are just two intriguing statistics thrown up by Shot Scope’s performance tracking data platform. Download our free guides for golfers now!FREE e-books to lower your score