Preview: Aon Risk Reward Challenge holes
February 14, 2020
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
- February 14, 2020
- A look at the par-4 10th hole at the Riviera Country Club. (David Cannon/Getty Images)
The Aon Risk Reward Challenge is a unique, season-long competition on the PGA TOUR and LPGA Tour that highlights golf’s best strategic decision makers. The top player from each Tour at the end of the season will each receive an $1 million prize. Brooks Koepka (PGA TOUR) and Carlota Ciganda (LPGA Tour) won the Aon Risk Reward Challenge last season.
Here are the upcoming Aon Risk Reward Challenge holes on the PGA TOUR:
The Genesis Invitational
Riviera, 10th hole – Par 4, 315 yards (Stroke average in 2019: 3.767)
Strategy and execution are on full display given the options available on the short par 4. Keeping the tee shot left on this hole is key in navigating the risk reward.
Since 2015, 68% of players have decided to go for the green off the tee, making birdie or better 32% of the time. Meanwhile, 37% of tee shots that have found the left side of the fairway have made birdie or better, compared to 26% from the right side of the fairway.
“I’ve never laid up on this hole,” Tony Finau said. “This is one of the best risk-reward holes in golf. You can take a risk and get the reward or you can take a risk and make a big number. You can also lay up and make a big number … and that’s the sign of a great hole.”
Rory McIlroy also believes in going for the green.
“This is possibly the best drivable par 4 in the world,” he said. “It’s just as easy to make a six as it is to make a three, but all the statistics suggest that if you do go for the green, you’re going to play the hole three-tenths of a shot lower than if you lay up.”
Since 2015, the winners of the Genesis Open have a combined 70% going for the green percentage. Last season’s winner, J.B. Holmes, went for the green each day (missing the green to the left) and played the hole in 3 under for the week, marking the best score to par on this hole by a winner since 2012.
World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship
Club de Golf Chapultepec, 11th hole – Par 5, 632 yards (Stroke average in 2019: 4.690)
The 11th hole is one of 10 holes that measured more than 620 yards on the PGA TOUR last season (scorecard yardage) and plays downhill from tee to green by 32 feet. The hole is treelined with trees guarding short-right of the gree,n requiring a precise second shot that favors the left side of the hole.
Last year, players finding the fairway played to a stroke average of 4.54, making birdie or better 48% of the time. However, the birdie or better percentage for players missing the fairway decreased to 35% with a stroke average of 4.81.
Hitting the narrow fairway yields the best overall scoring opportunity on this hole. Last year’s winner, Dustin Johnson, went for the green all four rounds and played the hole 3 under for the week.
Puerto Rico Open
Coco Beach, 13th hole – Par 4, 410 yards (Strroke average in 2019: 4.202)
A waste area and bunker on the left side of the fairway guard the corner of the dogleg and optimal angle of approach to the green.
Last season, players hitting the fairway had a 36% higher chance of hitting the green in regulation (70%) than players who missed the fairway (34%). This was reflected in scoring as players who found the fairway averaged 4.02 while those who missed the fairway averaged 4.56.
With 90% of the field making par or better after finding the fairway, finding the fairway gives you the best opportunity to score on the toughest hole on the course last season (4.202).
The Honda Classic
PGA National, 18th hole – Par 5, 556 yards (Stroke average in 2019: 4.731)
This is a superb finishing hole with plenty of viewing areas. The second easiest hole on the course last season provides ample opportunity to reach the green in two. For the more conservative players, a middle to long iron second shot to about 100 yards short of the green sets up an ideal pitch shot.
Last year, the 59% of the field who went for the green in two made birdie or better 48% of the time. The remaining 41% of players laying up made birdie or better just 24% of the time. Thus, going for the green essentially doubles a player’s chance of making birdie or better.