Brendon Todd’s first career victory, a two-stroke win over Mike Weir Sunday at the HP Byron Nelson Championship certainly wasn’t accomplished in a conventional fashion. Todd became the eighth first-time winner on the PGA Tour this season – and the third in three events in the state of Texas – by hitting fairways and missing greens. He became the first player since Louis Oosthuizen in the 2010 British Open to win the same week he led the field in driving accuracy and he is one of two players in 2013-14 to win a tournament despite hitting fewer than 60 percent of the greens in regulation.
PGA Tour winners since 2008 who also led the field in driving accuracy
|Brendon Todd||2014 HP Byron Nelson Championship|
|Louis Oosthuizen||2010 British Open|
|Nathan Green||2009 Canadian Open|
|Sergio Garcia||2008 Players|
|Trevor Immelman||2008 Masters|
Driving accuracy has become passe in the era of the big hitter, and is such a relatively unessential statistic that only two of the top-10 players on Tour in fairways hit are in the top 50 in the FedEx Cup standings (Zach Johnson and Jim Furyk). Todd is one of just six players in 2013-14 to lead an event in accuracy off the tee and still finish in the top five of a tournament.
Best finishes by the event leader in driving accuracy in 2013-14
|Brendon Todd||HP Byron Nelson||Won|
|Kevin Na||Valspar Championship||Second|
|Zach Johnson||Humana Challenge||T-3|
|Miguel A. Jimenez||Masters||T-4|
|David Toms||Puerto Rico Open||T-4|
|Henrik Stenson||Arnold Palmer Inv.||T-5|
At the TPC Four Seasons Resort, Todd hit 40 fairways, including 12 each in the first and third rounds. He hit more fairways in round one than he did greens (12 to 10). Only one other player in the top five in the field in driving accuracy also finished in the top 10 at the Nelson.
Driving accuracy leaders at the HP Byron Nelson Championship
|Brendon Todd||71.43% (40 of 56)||Won|
|Charlie Wi||67.86 (38 of 56)||T-29|
|Brendon de Jonge||67.86 (38 of 56)||T-29|
|John Senden||67.86 (38 of 56)||T-11|
|Marc Leishman||66.07 (37 of 56)||T-3|
|Brian Harman||66.07 (37 of 56)||T-29|
As precise as Todd was off the tee, he didn’t transfer that success to his second shots. Todd hit a paltry 43 greens in regulation, including a woeful 17 on the front nine. He ranked T-55 in the field in GIR, the worst position for a winner on the PGA Tour this year and his 59.72 percentage of greens hit was the second worse for a winner this season.
Lowest GIR percentage for PGA Tour winners in 2013-14
|Player||Tournament||GIR percentage||Tournament rank|
|Brendon Todd||HP Byron Nelson||59.72||T-55|
|Steven Bowditch||Valero Texas Open||61.11||T-15|
Todd was able to recover from those missed greens with one of the better scrambling performances the folks at TPC Four Seasons Resort have seen in quite some time. He made par or better 25 of the 29 times he missed the green in regulation and his 86.21 scrambling percentage was the second-best mark at the Nelson in the last 10 years.
Best scrambling percentage at the HP Byron Nelson Championship: 2005-2014
|Justin Bolli||2013||86.36% (19 of 22)|
|Brendon Todd||2014||86.21 (25 of 29)|
|Greg Chalmers||2009||84.21 (16 of 19)|
|Nick Price||2005||84.00 (21 of 25)|
|Johnson Wagner||2010||82.61 (19 of 23)|
Todd played better on the back nine than the front nine. As mentioned earlier, he hit just 17 greens on the front but he improved to 26 on the back. It resulted in a six-stroke difference between his front-nine and back-nine scoring. After going out in four under for the week, Todd came home in 10 under, the best score on the back nine all week. Among players within five stroke of the lead only Boo Weekley was within five strokes of Todd’s total on the inward nine.
Back-nine/front-nine differential among the leaders at the Nelson
|Player||Front nine||Back nine||Total|
|Charles Howell III||-6||-4||-10|
Todd has played well on the back nine all year, ranking sixth on Tour in scoring in those holes.
Back-nine scoring leaders on Tour in 2013-14
But unlike McIlroy or Donald, who rank 105th and 170th on Tour in front-nine scoring, respectively, Todd is having a fine time wherever he plays. He has an average of 35.08 on the front (ranked 30th), and his adjusted scoring average of 70.036 ranks 11th on Tour. It’s by far the best mark of his career.
Todd and runner-up Mike Weir led the field with 99 putts for the week. They became the fourth and fifth players to take fewer than 100 putts at the Nelson since the tournament moved to the TPC Four Seasons Resort course (originally TPC Las Colinas) in 1986.
Fewest putts at the Byron Nelson Championship
For Weir, the second-place finish was his first since the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and his first top-10 finish since a solo sixth at the 2010 Bob Hope Classic, a streak of 88 starts. He is playing in 2013-14 on a one-time exemption for being in the top 50 on the all-time PGA Tour earnings list, but the runner-up finish should allow him to qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs this fall for the first time since 2009.
Mike Weir’s record since 2010
|Year||Starts||Cuts made||Top 10s||FedEx Cup rank||Money rank|