Stat attack!: McGladrey Classic review

By John AntoniniOctober 27, 2014, 1:16 am

While watching the playoff at the McGladrey Classic, I began to wonder whether, Robert Streb, who had the best final round among the three playoff competitors, had the edge in the upcoming overtime. Streb, who shot 63 Sunday (compared to 65 for Brendon de Jonge and 68 for Will MacKenzie), would have appeared to have the momentum entering the extra session because he played so well in regulation. But he had to wait more than an hour for the rest of the field to finish the final round before he began the playoff. Would there be a carry-over effect from his low score?

That Streb won with a birdie on the second extra hole made me think I was onto something, so I checked all the playoffs on the PGA Tour from 2011 to 2014. In that time, the playoff winner did indeed shoot the lowest final round more often than not, with the winner having the better Sunday on 23 of the 37 playoffs where one playoff participant had a better score than his opponents (playoffs where two or more participants tied during the final round were not considered).

It also reversed a trend from last season, as only one playoff winner in 2013-14 had the lowest score on Sunday – Matt Jones, who shot 66 in Houston, then beat Matt Kuchar in extra holes. 

But truth be told, why Streb was able win Sunday at the McGladrey Classic had more to do with his putting than any momentum gained from his final-round 63. Streb needed just 113 putts at Sea Island’s Seaside course, tied for the fewest in the field, and he ranked second in putts per GIR. He didn’t miss a putt from less than five feet – including his playoff winner for birdie on the second extra hole – and was 62-for-66 from 10 feet or less. Streb improved his putting in every putting stat listed below at the McGladrey compared to last season.

Robert Streb’s rank in putting stats at the McGladrey Classic

 Statistic McGladrey rank Streb's 2014 rank
 Putts per Round  T-1 (28.25) T-69 (28.87)
 Putts per GIR 2 ( 1.642) T-68 (1.766)
 Strokes gained/putting 2 (1.691) 75 (.117)
 Putting from less than 10 feet T-6 (93.94%) T-145 (86.18%)
 One-putt percentage T-1 (45.83%) T-63 (40.06%)

Personal best

Streb’s great putting led him to a career-best 63 Sunday, including four birdies on his last five holes, aided by a 20-foot birdie putt on No. 16 and a 33 footer on the next hole. It led to his first victory in just his 49th PGA Tour start.

Robert Streb’s career best rounds

 Score Tournament Finish
 63 Fourth round, 2014 McGladrey Classic Won playoff
 64 Fourth round, 2013 Humana Challenge T-14
 65 First round, 2013 Honda Classic T-18
 65 Second round, 2013 Puerto Rico Open T-11
 65 Third round, 2013 John Deere Classic T-22
 65 First round, 2014 John Deere Classic T-37

Number of starts needed for first-time PGA Tour winners since 2013-14 to get their first victory

 Player First win Starts needed
 Chesson Hadley 2014 McGladrey Classic 13
 Hideki Matsuyama 2014 Puerto Rico Open 26
 Robert Streb 2014 McGladrey Classic 49
 Ben Martin 2014 Open 56
 Brendon Todd 2014 HP Byron Nelson Champ.       77
 Seung-Yul Noh 2014 Zurich Classic 78
 Brian Harman 2014 John Deere Classic 88
 Matt Every 2014 Arnold Palmer Inv. 93
Steven Bowditch 2014 Valero Texas Open 110
 Matt Jones 2014 Shell Houston Open 156
 Jimmy Walker 2013 Open 188
 Kevin Stadler 2014 WM Phoenix Open 239

Sunday smoke

Streb is the third player in the past year to shoot 63 in the final round and win, joining Jimmy Walker at the Sony Open and Camilo Villegas at the Wyndham Championship. They are among the six players who shot that low and won in the last two years.

Lowest final-round score by a PGA Tour winner: 2013-2014

 Player Score Tournament
 Robert Streb 63 2014 McGladrey Classic
 Jimmy Walker 63 2014 Sony Open
 Camilo Villegas 63 2014 Wyndham Championship
 Martin Laird 63 2013 Valero Texas Open
 Brian Gay 63 2013 Humana Challenge
 Russell Henley 63 2013 Sony Open

Heartache again

The McGladrey was another close call for Brendon de Jonge, who has played 212 events in his PGA Tour career and has earned more than $9.9 million, yet hasn’t won. De Jonge, who played on the International Presidents Cup in 2013, has 25 top-10 finishes and was also second at the 2012 Las Vegas event. He is 145th on the PGA Tour’s all-time money list, sixth among those without a victory.

The most money won on the PGA Tour without a victory

 Player Career money rank Earnings
 Briny Baird 106 $13,251,178
 Brain Davis 111 12,621,269
 Jeff Overton  122 11,866,149
 Brett Quigley 133 11,058,693
 Charlie Wi 144 9,930,397
 Brendon de Jonge 145 9,921,659

Brendon de Jonge’s close calls

 Tournament Finish Note
 2014 McGladrey Classic T-2 Lost playoff to Robert Streb
 2012 Las Vegas 2 Lost by one to Ryan Moore despite opening with a 62
 2010 Viking Classic T-3 Tied for the lead after 36 holes, but finished 73-72
 2012 AT&T National T-11 Held the 54-hole lead but shot 77 to fall to T-11

Sweet Georgia

None of the playoff participants at the McGladrey Classic have ties to the state of Georgia, but a trio of Georgia Bulldogs - Kevin Kisner, Chris Kirk and Russell Henley - finished tied for fourth. It’s the second straight year at least three players with a Georgia background finished in the top 10 at the McGladrey.

Top-10 finishers at the McGladrey Classic with Georgia ties: 2013-2014

 Player Finish Georgia tie
 Kevin Kisner T-4 in 2014 Attended Georgia
 Chris Kirk T-4 in 2014, Won in 2013 Attended Georgia, lives in Atlanta
 Russell Henley T-4 in 2014 Born in Macon, attended Georgia
 Scott Brown T-4 in 2013 Born in Augusta
 Brian Harman T-10 in 2013 Born in Savannah, attended Georgia
 Matt Kuchar T-7 in 2013 Attended Ga. Tech, lives in Sea Island
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Lewis hopes to win at Volvik with baby on the way

By Randall MellMay 27, 2018, 12:55 am

Stacy Lewis was listening to more than her caddie on her march up the leaderboard Saturday at the Volvik Championship.

Pregnant with her first child, she is listening to her body in a new way these days.

And she could hear a message coming through loud and clear toward the end of her round at Travis Point Country Club in Ann Arbor, Mich.

“The little one was telling me it’s dinnertime,” Lewis said.

Lewis birdied five of the last six holes to shoot 5-under-par 67 and move into position to make a Sunday run at winning her 13th LPGA title. She is two shots behind the leader, Minjee Lee, whose 68 moved her to 12 under overall.

Sunday has the makings of a free for all with 10 players within three shots of the lead.

Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship

Lewis, 33, is four months pregnant, with her due date Nov. 3. She’s expecting to play just a few more times before putting the clubs away to get ready for the birth. She said she’s likely to make the Marathon Classic in mid-July her last start of the season before returning next year.

Of course, Lewis would relish winning with child.

“I don’t care what limitations I have or what is going on with my body, I want to give myself a chance to win,” she told at the Kingsmill Championship last week.

Lewis claimed an emotional victory with her last title, taking the Cambia Portland Classic late last summer after announcing earlier in the week that she would donate her entire winnings to the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in her Houston hometown.

A victory Sunday would also come with a lot of emotion.

It’s been an interesting year for Lewis.

There’s been the joy of learning she’s ready to begin the family she has been yearning for, and the struggle to play well after bouncing back from injury.

Lewis missed three cuts in a row before making it into the weekend at the Kingsmill Championship last week. That’s one more cut than she missed cumulatively in the previous six years. In six starts this year, Lewis hasn’t finished among the top 50 yet, but she hasn’t felt right, either.

The former world No. 1 didn’t make her second start of 2018 until April, at the year’s first major, the ANA Inspiration. She withdrew from the HSBC Women’s World Championship in late February with a strained right oblique muscle and didn’t play again for a month.

Still, Lewis is finding plenty to get excited about with the baby on the way.

“I kind of had my first Mother’s Day,” Lewis told last week. “It puts golf into perspective. It makes those bad days not seem so bad. It helps me sleep better at night. We are just really excited.”

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Rose hasn't visited restroom at Colonial - here's why

By Nick MentaMay 27, 2018, 12:20 am

In case you're unaware, it's pretty hot in Texas.

Temperatures at Colonial Country Club have approached 100 degrees this week, leaving players to battle both the golf course and potential dehydration.

With the help of his caddie Mark Fulcher, Fort Worth Invitational leader Justin Rose has been plenty hot himself, staking himself to a four-shot lead.

Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

"Yeah, Fulch has done a great job of just literally handing me water bottle after water bottle. It seems relentless, to be honest with you," Rose said Saturday.

So just how much are players sweating the heat at Colonial? Well, it doesn't sound like all that water is making it all the way through Rose.

"I haven't even seen the inside of a restroom yet, so you can't even drink quick enough out there," he shared.

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Up four, Rose knows a lead can slip away

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 11:21 pm

Up four shots heading into Sunday at the Fort Worth Invitational, Justin Rose has tied the largest 54-hole lead of his PGA Tour career.

On the previous two occasions he took a 54-hole Tour lead into the final round, he closed.

And yet, Rose knows just how quickly a lead can slip away. After all, it was Rose who erased a six-shot deficit earlier this season to overtake Dustin Johnson and win the WGC-HSBC Championship. 

"I think I was in the lead going into the final round in Turkey when I won, and I had a four-shot lead going into the final round in Indonesia in December and managed to put that one away," Rose said Saturday, thinking back to his two other victories late last year.

"I was five, six back maybe of DJ, so I've got experience the other way. ... So you can see how things can go both ways real quick. That's why there is no point in getting too far ahead of myself."

Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

Up one to start the third round Saturday, Rose extended his lead to as much as five when he birdied four of his first six holes.

He leads the field in strokes gained: tee-to-green (+12.853) and strokes gained: approach-the-green (+7.931).

Rose has won five times worldwide, including at the 2016 Rio Olympics, since his last victory in the United States, at the 2015 Zurich Classic.

With a win Sunday, he'd tie Nick Faldo for the most PGA Tour wins by an Englishman post-World War II, with nine.

But he isn't celebrating just yet.

"It is a big lead, but it's not big enough to be counting the holes away. You've got to go out and play good, you've got to go out positive, you've got to continue to make birdies and keep going forward.

"So my mindset is to not really focus on the lead, it's to focus on my game tomorrow and my performance. You know, just keep executing the way I have been. That's going to be my challenge tomorrow. Going to look forward to that mindset."

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Grillo still hunting follow-up to debut win

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 10:53 pm

Following a round of 1-under 69 Saturday, Emiliano Grillo will enter Sunday's final round at Colonial four shots behind leader Justin Rose.

Grillo is hunting his first win since he took the 2015 Safeway Open in his rookie debut as a PGA Tour member. 

The young Argentinian finished 11th in the FedExCup points race that season, contending in big events and finishing runner-up at the 2016 Barclays.

In the process, Grillo had to learn to pace himself and that it can be fruitless to chase after success week to week.

"That was a hot run in there," Grillo said Saturday, referring to his rookie year. "I played, in 2016, I played the majors very well. I played the big tournaments very well. I was in contention after two, three days in most of the big events.

Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

"I think, you know, I wanted to do better. I pushed for it. Some of the tournaments I ended up being 50th or 60th just because I wanted to play. I wanted to play well so badly. That played against me, so I learned from that. In that rookie year, I learned that."

Grillo was still plenty successful in his sophomore season, advancing to the BMW Championship last fall.

But now he's beginning to regain some of that form that made him such an immediate success on Tour. Grillo has recorded four top-10 finishes year - a T-9 at Mayakoba, a T-8 at Honda, a T-3 at Houston, and a T-9 at Wells Fargo - and will now look to outduel U.S. Open champs in Rose and Brooks Koepka on Sunday at Colonial.

"Well, he's top 10 in the world, so everything he does he does it pretty well," Grillo said of Rose. "You know, he does his own thing. Like I say, he's top 10 in the world. Nothing wrong with his game. ...

"He's in the lead on a Sunday. Doesn't matter where you're playing, he's got to go out and shoot under par. He's got 50 guys behind him trying to reach him, and I'm one of those. I've just got to go out and do what he did today on those first five or six holes and try to get him in the early holes."