Stat attack! Humana Challenge statistical review

By John AntoniniJanuary 20, 2014, 3:50 pm

Ultimately, Patrick Reed had nothing to worry about. No player has ever blown a seven-stroke lead through three rounds in a 72-hole PGA Tour event. Now that you know that statistical oddity, you can look at Reed’s two-stroke win over Ryan Palmer at the Humana Challenge in a different light.

Although he struggled for most of the final round, until a clutch birdie putt on the 15th hole (more on that later), Reed’s week in Palm Springs was nothing short of stellar. He became the third player under age 25 with multiple Tour victories, and he came within one stroke of tieing the record for lowest aggregate score through 54 holes.

He became the youngest winner in Humana history since Jack Nicklaus, also 23, won in 1963. And he became the first player in Tour history to shoot 63 or better in the first three rounds of the same tournament.

Multiple PGA Tour winners currently under age 25

Player Wins Age Birthday
Rory McIlroy 6 24 May 4, 1989
Harris English 2 24 July 23, 1989
Patrick Reed 2 23 August 5, 1990

Lowest first 54 holes in a PGA Tour event

Steve Stricker 188 (60-66-62) 2010 John Deere Classic
Patrick Reed 189 (63-63-63) 2014 Humana Challenge
Phil Mickelson 189 (60-65-64) 2013 Waste Management Phx. Open
Mark Calcavecchia 189 (65-60-64) 2001 Phoenix Open
John Cook 189 (64-63-62) 1996 St. Jude Classic

Reed did set the record for lowest score to par over the first 54 holes of an event. His 27-under total was the result of playing on three par-72 courses, while Stricker’s mark came on a par-70 venue and the others were on par-71 courses.

But Reed did make things interesting Sunday. With Zach Johnson shooting 62, Ryan Palmer shooting 63 and Justin Leonard lurking all day, there was pressure on Reed throughout the round.

He hit fairways and greens at a slightly diminished pace from his first three days (eight fairways and 13 greens Sunday; an average of 9.3 fairways and 14.7 greens in the first three rounds), but it was his putting that took a distinct downturn over the final 18 holes.

Until he made the long putt on 15, Reed made barely more than 22 feet of putts in his first 14 holes. It's what made his 17-foot, 5-inch birdie putt on the par-3 15th hole so surprising and so important. For the day, he made a little more than 50 feet worth of putts, which means that one-third of his total distance of putts made came on the 15th.

ShotLink data was only available on the Palmer Course at the Humana Challenge, but a look at the difference between Reed’s opening 63 on the Palmer Course and his final round is instructive.

Patrick Reed on the Palmer Course at the Humana Challenge

Day Avg. distance of putts made Putts from more than 5 1/2 feet Strokes gained-putting
Thursday 7 feet, 4 inches 10 +5.625
Sunday 2 feet, 10 inches 1 -2.073

With ShotLink data unavailable at the Nicklaus and La Quinta courses, we have to look at conventional statistics to see how well he putted in Rounds 2 and 3. It also offers another difference between Reed’s early rounds and his Sunday play.On Thursday, Reed made six putts in 10 attempts from 10-25 feet. On Sunday he made just one of seven.

Patrick Reed’s number of putts per round

Day Total Putts No-Putts One-Putts Two-Putts Three-Putts
Thursday 25 0 11 7 0
Friday 26 0 10 8 0
Saturday 24 1 10 7 0
Sunday 32 0 4 14 0
Total 107 1 35 36 0

Reed was in double digits in one-putt holes in each of the first three rounds. It helped him to three consecutive 63s, and resulted in the lowest first-round score of his career, the lowest third-round score of his career, and it tied his career best in the second round.

It was the third time in his career Reed had three rounds of 60 in the same week. Of course, he didn’t follow with another low round Sunday. His 1-under 71 not only kept Reed from scoring in the 60s in all four rounds for the first time in his PGA Tour career, it also marked a rare round of 70 or higher for a winner at the Humana.

Humana Challenge winners with a round in the 70s since 2000

2014 Patrick Reed 71 Fourth Round
2008 D.J. Trahan 70 Fourth Round
2007 Charley Hoffman 70, 71 Second, Fifth Rounds
2006 Chad Campbell 71 Fifth Round
2002 Phil Mickelson 70 Third Round

Finally, according to the Tour, Reed is the first player to hold the outright lead every day of the Humana since Rik Massengale in 1977. It was a five-round tournament back then. If the Humana were a five-round event this year, Reed might not have hung on to win.

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Winning on Kerr's mind this week and beyond

By Randall MellMarch 24, 2018, 2:11 am

Cristie Kerr moved into position Friday to do more than win the 21st LPGA title of her career.

She moved into position to claim an LPGA Hall of Fame point this week.

Yes, winning is foremost on her mind at the Kia Classic, where she took the lead with an 8-under-par 64 in the second round, she’s on a larger quest, too.

After turning 40 last fall, Kerr was asked what her goals are.

“The Hall of Fame is attainable, if I stick with it,” she said.

Kerr is five shots ahead of Lizette Salas (67), In-Kyung Kim (69), Hee Young Park (70) and Caroline Hedwall (70).

It’s a good time for Kerr to get on a hot streak, with the year’s first major championship, the ANA Inspiration, next week. She has long been one of the best putters in the women’s game, but her ball-striking is impressive this week. She hit 17 greens in regulation Thursday, and she hit 16 on Friday.

“I like winning,” Kerr said. “I like challenging myself. Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older, with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, `Man, why does my hamstring hurt?’ From working around this hilly golf course.”

Kerr acknowledged Friday that her body is more vulnerable to time’s realities, but her mind isn’t.

Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

“The golf ball doesn't know an age,” Kerr said. “I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.”

Kerr won two weeks after her 40th birthday last fall, boosting her LPGA Hall of Fame point total to 22. She is five points short of eligibility for induction. A player earns one point for an LPGA victory and two points for a major championship title. So there’s a lot of Hall of Fame ground to gain this week and next.

It’s a long-term goal that motivates Kerr to take care of her body.

“I don't think the golf changes,” Kerr said. “I think, physically, it gets harder as you get older. Like I said, I've got tape on my hamstring. I strained it, just a little bit yesterday, walking around this golf course. It's tough as you get older, just being fresh and rested. I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.”

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Big names chasing Kerr into the weekend at Kia Classic

By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 1:55 am

CARLSBAD, Calif. - Cristie Kerr shot an 8-under 64 on Friday in the Kia Classic to take a five-stroke lead into the weekend.

The 40-year-old Kerr had eight birdies in her second straight bogey-free round to reach 13-under 131 at rain-softened Aviara.

''I like winning. I like challenging myself,'' Kerr said. ''Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, 'Man, why does my hamstring hurt?' From working around this hilly golf course. The golf ball doesn't know an age. I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.''

She has 20 LPGA victories, winning at Aviara in 2015. She won twice last year and helped the U.S. beat Europe in her ninth Solheim Cup appearance.

''It's tough as you get older just being fresh and rested,'' Kerr said. ''I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.''

Lizette Salas, In-Kyung Kim, Hee Young Park and Caroline Hedwall were tied for second. Salas shot 67, Kim 69, and Park and Hedwall 70.

''I really like this golf course. I really like the environment,'' said Salas, the former University of Southern California player from Azusa. ''My family gets to come out. So much confidence at the beginning of the week, and definitely showed the first two days.

Jeong Eun Lee was 7 under after a 69, and defending ANA champion So Yeon Ryu had a 70 to get to 6 under.

Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

Ariya Jutanugarn (72), Brooke Henderson (70) and 2016 winner Lydia Ko (71) were 5 under. Shanshan Feng (68) was another stroke back, and Singapore winner Michelle Wie (72) was 1 under.

Lexi Thompson was 2 over after a 74, making the cut on the number in the final event before the major ANA Inspiration next week at Mission Hills.

Kerr opened with birdies on the par-5 10th and par-3 11th, added birdies on the par-4 16th, 18th and second, and ran off three in a row on the par-3 sixth, par-4 seventh and par-5 eighth.

''I don't think you can fall asleep on one shot,'' Kerr said. ''It's a really good golf course. I think I play better on courses that demand the focus, so I think that's why I've played well here in the past. ... I'm trying not to put limits on myself right now. I've got some good things going on with my swing.''

She has long been one best putters and green-readers in the world.

''I can see the subtleties that a lot of people can't,'' Kerr said. ''It's a gift from God being able to do that. I've always had that, so I'm lucky.''

Laura Davies withdrew after an opening 82. The 54-year-old Davies tied for second last week in the Founders Cup in Phoenix, playing through painful left Achilles and calf problems.

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DJ hits 489-yard drive, but it doesn't count for history

By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 12:22 am

AUSTIN, Texas – Dustin Johnson is no stranger to big drives, but even for DJ this one was impressive.

Trailing in his Day 3 match at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Johnson launched a drive at the par-5 12th hole that traveled 489 yards, but that number comes with an asterisk.

“He got lucky it hit the road,” smiled Kevin Kisner, who was leading the world No. 1, 3 up, at the time. “I thought he would make an eagle for sure, he only had 80 yards [to the hole]. He didn’t hit a very good putt.”

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Articles, photos and videos

Johnson’s drive, which was 139 yards past Kisner’s tee shot, is the longest recorded on the PGA Tour in the ShotLink era, surpassing Davis Love III’s drive of 476 yards in 2004 at the Tournament of Champions.

The drive will not go into the record books, however, because the Tour doesn’t count statistics from the Match Play.

It should also be noted, Kisner halved the 12th hole with a birdie and won the match, 4 and 3, to advance to the round of 16.

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Durant leads Champions event in Mississippi

By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 12:21 am

BILOXI, Miss. - Joe Durant had three straight birdies in a back-nine burst and a shot 6-under 66 on Friday to take the first-round lead in the PGA Tour Champions' Rapiscan Systems Classic.

Durant birdied the par-4 11th and 12th and par-5 13th in the bogey-free round at breezy and rain-softened Fallen Oak. Because of the wet conditions, players were allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls in the fairway.

''It just sets up nice to my eye,'' Durant said. ''It's a beautiful golf course and it's very challenging. The tee shots seem to set up well for me, but the greens are maybe as quick as I've ever seen them here. You really have to put the ball in the right spots. I played very nice today. With the wind swirling like it was, I'm really happy.''

He won the Chubb Classic last month in Naples, Florida, for his third victory on the 50-and-over tour.

Full-field scores from the Rapiscan Systems Classic

''Done this long enough, Friday's just one day,'' Durant said. ''Especially in a three-day tournament, you've got to go out and shoot three good numbers. Fortunate to put one on the board, but I know I have to back it up with a couple of good days because you can get passed very quickly out here.''

Mark Calcavecchia was a stroke back. He won last month in Boca Raton, Florida

''It's probably my best round I've ever had here and it was a tough day to play,'' Calcavecchia said. ''The greens are just lightning fast. They're pretty slopey greens, so very difficult to putt.''

Steve Stricker was third at 68. He took the Tucson, Arizona, event three weeks ago for his first senior victory.

''Just getting it around and managing my game I think like I always do,'' Stricker said. ''You get in the wrong position here with the greens being so fast and you're going to be in trouble. I did that a couple times today.''

Billy Mayfair, Billy Andrade and David McKenzie shot 69. Jerry Kelly, the winner of the season-opening event in Hawaii, was at 70 with Wes Short Jr., Glen Day, Gene Sauers and Jesper Parnevik.

Bernhard Langer opened with a 71, and two-time defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez had a 72.

Vijay Singh, coming off his first senior victory two weeks ago in Newport Beach, California, had a 73.