Stat attack!: RBC Canadian Open review


Somehow it’s fitting that the man who knocked Jim Furyk off the top of the leaderboard at the RBC Canadian Open is a player who is best-known for finishing second on the PGA Tour. Tim Clark, who has been runner-up in at least one PGA Tour event every year since 2005 with just one win in that span, finally won his second Tour title at Royal Montreal, edging Furyk by one stroke at 17 under par. Clark caught Furyk on the back-nine Sunday, making five birdies on the closing side to Furyk’s one. Clark needed just 10 putts on the back, missing only a 44-footer on the last hole. Clark didn’t have any gimmes. Every putt he made on the back was from more than five feet. He gained more than four strokes on the field with his putting on the back nine and for the week was second in strokes gained/putting.

Tim Clark’s back nine at the RBC Canadian Open

 Hole 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Total
 Par 4 4 5 3 4 4 4 3 4 35
 Score 4 3 4 3 3 3 4 2 4 30
 Fairway hit Y N Y   Y Y Y   Y 6 of 7
 Green hit N Y Y N Y Y N Y Y 6 of 9
 No. of Putts 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 10

Leaders in strokes gained/putting at the RBC Canadian Open

 Player Str. gained./putting Last nine holes Finish
 Kevin Kisner 9.596 2.936 T-9
 Tim Clark 6.469 4.201 Won
 Nathan Green 6.379 0.247 T-53
 Tim Herron 5.745 0.772 T-34
 Ben Curtis 4.926 0.406 T-12

In contrast, Furyk was just 24th in the field in strokes gained at 2.535 and lost 1.355 strokes to the field on the last nine holes of the week.

In addition to his stellar putting, Clark led the field in driving accuracy, hitting 47 fairways and was fourth in approach shot distance to the pin. His 83.93 driving accuracy percentage helped him move to third on tour in that stat for the season, trailing just Joe Durant and David Toms. Clark and Zach Johnson are the only players in the top 10 on tour in fairways hit who also have a victory this season.

PGA Tour leaders in driving accuracy in 2013-14

 Player Accuracy pct. Top 10s Best finish
 Joe Durant  75.92 T-11 Greenbrier 
 David Toms  74.97  T-4 Puerto Rico 
 Tim Clark  74.43  Won Canadian Open 
 Justin Hicks  73.56  Third Canadian Open 
 Heath Slocum  72.25  T-16 McGladrey Classic
 Zach Johnson 71.49  Won Hyundai T of C 
 Paul Goydos  71.01  T-61 Sony Open 
 Jim Furyk  70.47  Second, three times
 Ken Duke 70.43 T-15 Las Vegas
 Billy Hurley III  70.34  4 T-4 Greenbrier

It was the second straight outstanding performance for Clark, who has missed seven of 10 cuts entering the John Deere Classic. But he found himself in the middle rounds at Deere Run, with scores of 63-64 to finish T-5 at 18-under par. With his 17-under finish at Royal Montreal (that included a 64-65 weekend), Clark is 35-under par on his last eight PGA Tour rounds. He’s not along in his hot performances. Among the top-10 finishers in Canada, seven of them were at least 10 under par in their previous PGA Tour start 

Top-10 finishers at the Canadian Open, and their previous PGA Tour start

 Finish Player Canadian Open Previous tournament
 1 Tim Clark 17 under 18 under (JDC)
 2 Jim Furyk 16 under 13 under (British)
 3 Justin Hicks 13 under 10 under (JDC)
 T-4 G. Fdez-Castano 11 under 6 over (British)
 T-4 Matt Kuchar 11 under 2 over (British)
 T-4 Michael Putnam 11 under 4 under (Greenbrier)
 T-7 Graham Delaet 10 under 3 over (British)
 T-7 Dicky Pride 10 under 10 under (JDC)
 T-9 Kevin Kisner 9 under 12 under (JDC)
 T-9 Brad Fritsch 9 under 14 under (JDC)
 T-9 Graeme McDowell 9 under 10 under (British)

For Furyk, it marks the seventh straight time he has failed to hold a 54-hole lead, and is the third time this season he has finished second. He has 28 runner-up finishes in his career, fourth among active full-time PGA Tour players behind Davis Love III, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. Furyk’s last PGA Tour victory came at the 2010 Tour Championship. In the last four seasons he has made 87 starts and has earned more than $12 million. He has finished second six times, with 26 top 10s. He just hasn’t been able to close.

Jim Furyk's last seven starts with the 54-hole lead

 Tournament 54-hole lead Finish
 2014 RBC Canadian Open 3 Second (one back of Tim Clark)
 2013 BMW Championship 1 Third  (three back of Zach Johnson) 
 2013 PGA Championship 1 Second (two back of Jason Dufner)
 2012 McGladrey Classic Tied Third (two back of Tommy Gainey)
 2012 WGC-Bridgestone 1 T-2 (one back of Keegan Bradley)
 2012 U.S. Open Tied T-4 (two back of Webb Simpson)
 2012 Transitions Tied T-2 (lost playoff to Luke Donald)

Runner-up finishes on the PGA Tour among active full-time players

 Player Career seconds Runner-ups in 2013-14
 Davis Love III 30 0
 Tiger Woods 29 0
 Phil Mickelson 29 0
 Jim Furyk 28 3
 Vijay Singh 27 1

Furyk has more top-10 finishes in the last four years than any other player who has not won on the PGA Tour. Charles Howell is second with 20.

Most top 10s without a win: 2011-2014

 Player Top-10s
 Jim Furyk 26
 Charles Howell III 20
 Lee Westwood 18
 Bo Van Pelt 17
 Graham Delaet 17
 Ryan Palmer 16
 Charley Hoffman 15
 Robert Garrigus 15

Furyk’s next chance for redemption comes at this week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, where, I’m afraid to note, he has finished second two times.