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Stat attack! Farmers Insurance Open statistical review

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What an odd week at the Farmers Insurance Open. Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson made the cut, but neither played on Sunday. Gary Woodland, the 54-hole leader made double bogey on the 17th hole in both weekend rounds and eventually finished three strokes back.

Precocious 20-year-old Jordan Spieth inexplicably followed a 63 on the North Course at Torrey Pines with a pair of 75s on the South Course on the weekend. And Scott Stallings, despite an opening-round 72, shot a 9-under 279 to beat a quintet of players by one stroke for his third PGA Tour victory.

It was the highest opening round by a winner this season, and the first time a player won despite opening at even par or worse since Justin Rose won the 2013 U.S. Open with a 1-over 71.

Highest opening rounds (to par) by PGA Tour winners since 2013

Kevin Streelman 2013 Tampa Bay Two-over 73
Justin Rose 2013 U.S. Open One-over 71
Scott Stallings 2014 Farmers Insurance Open Even-par 72
Graeme McDowell 2013 Heritage Even-par 71

Stallings, who birdied the last hole to take the lead, then waited out the final few groups, didn’t win at Torrey Pines in the conventional fashion.

Not one of the longest hitters in the field or the most accurate upon approach, Stallings took advantage of a deft putting touch, leading the field in strokes-gained putting by sinking 10 putts from more than 10 feet.

Only one other winner among the last six at the Farmers was also in the top 10 in strokes-gained putting. Stallings’ proximity to the hole on approach was the worst of the last six champions.

Statistical comparison of Farmers Insurance Open winners since 2009

Year Player Distance Prox. to hole Str. Gained/Putt. Putting from 10+ feet
2014 Scott Stallings 291.9 (24) 42 ft., 0 in. (63) 2.794 (1) 10/33; 30.30% (3)
2013 Tiger Woods 307.3 (2) 38 ft., 0 in. (T-49) 0.649 (28) 4/32; 12.50% (T43)
2012 Brandt Snedeker 284.8 (T-47) 36 ft., 10 in. (43) 1.473 (9) 9/38; 23.68% (5)
2011 Bubba Watson 316.1 (1) 25 ft., 10 in. (1) 0.247 (41) 6/31; 19.35% (T-22)
2010 Ben Crane 272.5 (T-51) 30 ft., 8 in. (6) 0.015 (45) 7/36; 19.44% (T-16)
2009 Nick Watney 268.8 (21) 35 ft., 7 in. (6) 0.253 (40) 2/30; 6.67% (64)

The 28-year-old Stallings continued the youth movement on the PGA Tour. He’s the sixth winner in his 20s this season.

Age of winners on the PGA Tour in 2013-14

Player Current age Birthday
Zach Johnson 37 Feb. 24, 1976
Jimmy Walker 35 Jan. 16, 1979
Ryan Moore 31 Dec. 5, 1982
Dustin Johnson 29 June 22, 1984
Webb Simpson 28 August 8, 1985
Chris Kirk 28 May 8, 1985
Scott Stallings 28 March 28, 1985
Harris English 24 July 23, 1989
Patrick Reed 23 Aug. 5, 1990

For most of the final round it appeared Woodland, not Stallings, would join the list of twenty-something winners. Playing in the final group, Woodland birdied No. 13 to get to 9 under, but a bogey on 14 and a double at 17 saw him fall to 6-under 282 for a T-10.

It was the worst finish by a 54-hole leader in 2013-14, and the biggest collapse by a player with sole possession of the 54-hole lead in a PGA Tour event since Brendon de Jonge took a one-stroke lead into the final round of the 2012 AT&T National and shot 77 to finish T-11.

Worst finish by a 54-hole leader in a PGA Tour event in 2013-14

Gary Woodland T-10 Farmers Insurance Open
Dustin Johnson T-6 Hyundai Tournament of Champions
Robert Karlsson T-6 OHL Classic at Mayakoba

Spieth, too, had his chances, but he never got on track on the weekend when he returned to Torrey Pines South after his second-round 63. The 12-stroke difference between his 63 and his third-round 75 matches the largest differential between rounds two and three for any player on tour this season.

The most strokes gained between rounds two and three on the PGA Tour in 2013-14

12 Jordan Spieth Farmers Insurance Open 63-75
12 Marc Leishman CIMB Classic 65-77
12 D.J. Trahan Humana Challenge 68-80
11 Camilo Villegas Frys.com Open 66-77

On Sunday Woods and Mickelson were nowhere to be found. Although both players made the cut, neither played Sunday.

Mickelson was the first to leave, withdrawing Friday night with a sore back after finishing his second round in a tie for 32nd at 2-under 142. He was one stroke better than Woods at the time.

Midway through Saturday, it was Woods who was feeling the pain. Starting his round on No. 10, Woods was 1 under through eight holes before making two double bogeys and five bogeys on the next seven holes. The 79 matched his third highest score in a PGA Tour event.

Tiger Woods highest rounds on the PGA Tour

Tournament Round Score
2002 British Open 3 81
1994 Nestle Invitational* 1 80
2014 Farmers Insurance Open 3 79
2013 Memorial Tournament 3 79
2010 Quail Hollow Championship 2 79
1996 TOUR Championship 2 78
1995 British Open* 4 78
1993 Honda Classic* 2 78
1999 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am 3 78
1993 Nissan Los Angeles Open* 2 78

*Amateur

One final note on Stallings. Before winning at Torrey, the three-time PGA Tour winner didn't have much luck on the West Coast Swing. Prior to the Farmers, he made just four cuts in 15 starts in what had normally been the season-opening stretch of tournaments. It is just another example of how Sunday’s turn of events wasn’t the norm.