Stat attack!: RBC Heritage review


Apparently Matt Kuchar took issue with David Feherty’s comment on Sunday's edition of “Morning Drive” that nobody would be able to shoot a score as low as 64 in the final round of the RBC Heritage. Feherty opined that the rain and the wind would make Harbour Town GC a Sunday beast, but Kuchar begged to differ, his could-have-been-better, could-have-been-worse 7-under 64 giving him an 11-under 273 and a one-stroke victory over Luke Donald, who for the fifth time finished in the top three at Hilton Head without getting to don the tartan jacket. Kuchar’s 64 tied the record for best final round by a winner at the Heritage.

Best final-round score by a winner at the RBC Heritage

 Score Player Year
 64 Matt Kuchar 2014
 64 Brandt Snedeker 2011
 64  Brian Gay 2009
 64 Stewart Cink 2004

Best final-round performances by Matt Kuchar

 Score Tournament Finish 
 63 2010 Humana T-2
 64 2014 RBC Heritage Won
 64 2009 Humana T-25

Kuchar’s Sunday score offset a second-round 73, which was one of the highest final-round scores by a winner in 2013-14 and one of seven rounds over par by an eventual winner on Tour this year.

PGA Tour winners in 2013-14 despite shooting one round over par

 Player Score Tournament Round
 Zach Johnson 74 Hyundai T of C Third round
 Jimmy Walker 74 AT&T Pebble Beach Fourth round
 Russell Henley 72 Honda Classic Fourth round
 Patrick Reed 75 WGC-Cadillac Second round
 John Senden 72 Valspar Champ. First round
 Bubba Watson 74 Masters Third round
 Matt Kuchar 73 RBC Heritage Second round

The victory was Kuchar’s fourth straight top-10 finish and culminates a month where the now seven-time PGA Tour winner could have – some might say should have – won every time. Kuchar was T-4 at the Valero Texas Open, second at the Shell Houston Open and fifth at the Masters. He held the lead on Sunday in the Texas events and was one stroke back of the 54-hole leaders at the Masters. He is the first player with top-10 finishes in four consecutive PGA Tour events since Ryan Moore in 2012. (Unlike Kuchar, who played all four weeks, Moore and Dustin Johnson, who also accomplished the feat in 2012, had built in off-weeks during their streaks, as their runs came partially during the PGA Tour Playoffs.) Here are the players with three straight weeks in the top 10 since 2013.

Most consecutive weeks with top-10 finishes since 2013

 Weeks Player Year Tournaments
 4 Matt Kuchar 2013-14 T-4-Texas, 2-Houston, 5-Masters, 1-Heritage
 3 Zach Johnson 2013-14 1-Hyundai, T-8 Sony, T-3 Humana
 3 Brandt Snedeker  2013 T-2-Farmers, 2-Phoenix, 1-Pebble
 3 Charles Howell III 2013 T-3 Sony, T-2 Humana, T-9 Farmers
 3 Daniel Summerhays 2013 T-9 Greenbrier, T-4 John Deere, T-2 Sanderson Farms
 3 Graeme McDowell 2013 T-5 Match Play, T-9 Honda, T-3 Doral
 3 Jim Furyk 2013

T-9 Canada, T-9 Bridgestone, 2-PGA

 3 Scott Stallings 2013 T-4 Colonial, T-4 Memorial, T-2 FedEx St. Jude
 3 Zach Johnson 2013 T-4 Bridgestone, T-8 PGA, T-5 Wyndham

In his four-week run, Kuchar has finished in the top 10 in greens in regulation twice and driving accuracy three times. His putting – as might be expected from anyone watching his stunning three-putt from four feet on the 17th hole Sunday at Hilton Head – has been unremarkable.

Matt Kuchar’s statistical ranking the last four weeks

 Tournament Driv. Dist. Accuracy GIR Putts per round Scrambling
 Texas 60 7 T-28 T-5 5
 Houston 49 26 1 T-44 T-58
 Masters 46 T-7 T-14 T-16 8
 Heritage 56 T-7 1 T-36 11
 Season rank 152 31 33 T-61 16

Kuchar’s comeback Sunday made a bridesmaid of Luke Donald at the Heritage for the third time. He has finished in the top three at Harbour Town five times without winning. There is only one other player with five top-three finishes, but no wins, at the same PGA Tour event since 2000. You know who he is. He’ll try to end his drought at the U.S. Open at Pinehurst in June.

Most top-three finishes in one event without winning: 2000-2014

 Player Top 3s Tournament Seconds Thirds
 Luke Donald 5 RBC Heritage 2009, 2011, 2014 2010, 2013
 Phil Mickelson 5 U.S. Open 2002, 2004, 2006, 2009, 2013  
 Mike Weir 4 AT&T Pebble Beach 2005, 2009 2003, 2006
 Charles Howell III 4 Sony Open 2007, 2012 2005, 2013
 Vijay Singh 4 WGC-Cadillac 2003, 2008 2000, 2002

Harbour Town’s smallish green complexes yielded its usual low number of putts. Chesson Hadley and Jordan Spieth led the field with 102 putts. They are among the fewest putts taken at a tournament in 2013-14.

Fewest putts, one tournament 2013-14

Putts Player Tournament Finish
 100 James Driscoll Humana T-18
 101 Scott Langley Humana T-18
 101 Will Mackenzie Valero Texas T-2
 102 Chad Collins Humana T-8
 102 Brian Harman Northern Trust T-3
 102 John Daly Sony Open T-32
 102  Pat Perez Valero Texas T-11
 102 Chesson Hadley Heritage T-38
 102 Jordan Spieth Heritage T-12