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Stat attack!: Arnold Palmer Invitational review

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Are you surprised Adam Scott didn’t win the Arnold Palmer Invitational after shooting 62 in the first round and holding a three-stroke lead through 54 holes? You shouldn’t be. Prior to the start of the second round we Tweeted that none of the three players who shot 62 or better in the first round of a PGA Tour event this year would go on to win, (and only three of the 24 players since 2012 have done so).

Players shooting 62 or better in round one in 2013-14

 First-round score Player Tournament Finish
 60 J.J. Henry Shriners Las Vegas T-15
 61 Andres Romero Shriners Las Vegas MC
 62 Adam Scott Arnold Palmer Invitational 3
 62 George McNeill McGladrey Classic T-22

So if not Scott, would you have picked Matt Every (pictured above) to walk away as the API champion? You should have. The way Every has played this season, a victory was only a matter of time. He has improved in just about every statistic this season, has only missed one cut and entered the week with more top-10s on Tour than he had made through March in the previous three years combined. It’s reminiscent of what fellow Florida alum Billy Horschel did in 2013, when he made the cut in his first 12 starts of the year, culminating with his first career win in New Orleans.

Matt Every though Bay Hill: 2010-2014

 Year Starts Cuts Wins Top-10s Money rank FedEx rank
 2014 11 10 1 5 9 7
 2013 10 5 0 1 91 96
 2012 8 4 0 2 58 66
 2011 3 2 0 0 170 166
 2010 8 6 0 1 73 67

Like Horschel, Every’s improvement stems from a dramatic improvement in his scoring average, and is a direct result of better putting. A year ago, Every was 96th on Tour in scoring average at 71.02 strokes per round. He’s cut more than a stroke off that total this season, which can easily be found in his strokes gained-putting numbers.

Matt Every’s statistical improvement

 2014 (rank) Statistic 2013 (rank)
 60.00% (97) Driving accuracy 58.94% (123)
 69.64% (34) Greens in regulation 65.54% (83)
 +.950 (5) Strokes gained-putting -.098 (120)
 69.54 (3) Scoring average 71.02 (96)

Putting was the major difference between Every’s final-round 70 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and Scott’s 76. On Sunday, Every made more than 120 feet worth of putts, converted five times from 10 feet or more and gained nearly four strokes on the field. He was nearly seven strokes better than Scott on the short grass.

Matt Every’s putting at the Arnold Palmer Invitational

 Round Putts Distance One-putts 10 foot + Strokes gained
 1 27 119 ft. 8 in. 9 3 +1.760
 2 30 61 ft. 5 in. 4 1 +0.486
 3 28 79 ft. 5 in. 8 1 +0.252
 4 27 121 ft. 10 in. 9 5 +.3.899

Adam Scott’s putting at the Arnold Palmer Invitational

 Round Putts Distance One-putts 10 foot + Strokes gained
 1 23 149 ft. 6 in. 9 4 +5.067
 2 29 97 ft. 2 in. 8 3 +1.432
 3 31 103 ft. 9 in. 6 3 -.0.018
 4 32 48 ft. 1 in. 5 1 -2.929

Scott did increase his Tour-best mark of consecutive cuts made to 31 (three better than the idle Jason Day), but Scott has nothing on a foursome of players who have made 10 or more starts in 2013-14 and have not missed a cut. Mayakoba Classic champion Harris English leads the way, making money in all 12 of his starts this year, including a T-14 at Bay Hill.

Players with no missed cuts in 10 or more starts in 2013-14 

 Starts Player Top-10s Top-25s Bay Hill finish
 12 Harris English 6 9 T-14
 11 Chris Kirk 2 5 T-60
 10 Kevin Stadler 2 4 DNP
 10 Bill Haas 1 2 DNP

 


English, Kirk and Stadler will join Matt Every in making their Masters debut at Augusta National in two weeks. No Masters rookie was won the major since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979. We’re not saying any of them will win, but remember the comparison of Every to Horschel. Last year, in his first major after winning the Zurich Classic, Horschel was the 36-hole co-leader at the U.S. Open and finished T-4. Just food for thought.