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Sixth hole provides fearsome test


Winds cause havoc on par-5

Diksha Dagar on the sixth hole at Royal Troon

A gusting headwind caused plenty of problems on Royal Troon’s opening stretch during day one of the AIG Women’s Open, but no hole proved more challenging than the par-5 sixth.

Troon’s longest hole is a difficult one at the best of times, but it will rarely have played tougher than it did on Thursday, with gusts blowing firmly into the faces of the players throughout the day.

Even with the tees moved forward, which meant the hole measured 500 yards rather than its planned yardage of 574, the sixth offered a daunting test.

The scoring average on the hole was 5.76 by the end of round one, with leader Amy Olson one of only seven players to make birdie.

Yealimi Noh, Elizabeth Szokol, Haru Nomura, Pernilla Lindberg, Monique Smit and Annie Park were the other players to record fours, meaning they each picked up almost two shots on the field average, while a further 54 players made impressive pars.

Everyone else dropped at least one shot, with some faring far worse as the sixth yielded 58 sixes, 19 sevens, four triple-bogey eights and two quadruple-bogey nines.

“I hit what was an okay drive and it ended up going nowhere.” Marina Alex

Marina Alex was well-placed to assess just how tough the hole was after a superb one-under 70 that left her tied for second. The only blemish on her scorecard came at the sixth, where she recorded a double-bogey.

“I hit what was an okay drive and it ended up going nowhere. Barely carried a cross bunker that was like 170 yards out, so I struggled on that hole,” said Alex.

Georgia Hall, who battled hard for a two-over 73, praised the decision to reduce the yardage of the sixth, and several other holes, amid the extreme weather conditions.

“I think it's a good job that they have put those tees forward,” said Hall. “Otherwise, that would have been so hard, like even harder than it was.”

The wind at least looked to have changed direction early on Friday, making the sixth a slightly easier proposition for the morning starters.

It's hard to imagine it will ever play much tougher than it did in round one.