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Stat attack! Phoenix Open statistical review

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It was a day of firsts Sunday the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Kevin Stadler won his first PGA Tour event in his 239th start. Which means that Kevin and his father, Craig, are set to become the first father-son duo to compete in the same Masters. Stadler was also the first player in 2013-14 to finish in the top 10 in the field in greens in regulation and fairways hit in the same week that he won – and he is very likely the first person to win despite getting his ball stuck on a cactus, on the 11th hole of the final round.

Father-son winners on the PGA Tour

Tom Morris, Sr. and Tom Morris, Jr.
Joe Kirkwood, Sr. and Joe Kirkwood, Jr.
Willie Park, Sr. and Willie Park, Jr.
Clayton Heafner and Vance Heafner
Jakie Burke, Sr. and Jackie Burke, Jr.
Julius Boros and Guy Boros
Al Geiberger and Brent Geiberger
Jay Haas and Bill Haas
Craig Stadler and Kevin Stadler

Five members of that group – the Boroses, the Geibergers, the Haases, the Haefners and the Kirkwoods – are among the 11 father-son combos to play in the Masters, and the Stadlers would join them. The Kirkwoods came the closest to playing in the same year, with the elder Joe playing his final Masters in 1948 and junior playing for the first time in 1949.

Young Stadler’s victory was not so much unexpected – Bubba Watson’s short missed putt on 18 Sunday notwithstanding – as it was overdue. Only four golfers who had played in a PGA Tour event this season have played more without a victory than Stadler.

Most starts by an active PGA Tour player without a victory*

Brett Quigley 404
Briny Baird 368
Greg Chalmers 341
Brian Davis 285

*Brandt Jobe, who was 149th on the 2013 FedEx Cup standings, has not played yet in 2013-14. He has 331 events without a win.

Stadler was T-10 in fairways hit and greens in regulation at TPC Scottsdale. He was also fifth in approach-shot proximity to the hole and T-5 in scrambling. He has fared exceptionally well in all four of those categories this season.

Stadler’s stats last week and for the year

  Driving Accuracy Greens in regulation Proximity to hole (app) Scrambling
Event 67.86% (T-10) 77.78% (T-10) 32 feet, 7 inches (5) 75% (T-5)
Year 69.16% (17) 72.45% (T-36) 32 feet, 3 inches (T-15) 62.18% (41)

Stadler was the sixth consecutive Phoenix Open winner to finish in the top 10 in the field in greens in regulation.

Past WMPO winners rank in GIR 

Year Player GIR (rank)
2014 Kevin Stadler 56/72 (T-10)
2013 Phil Mickelson 63/72 (1)
2012 Kyle Stanley 57/72 (T-3)
2011 Mark Wilson 61/72 (1)
2010 Hunter Mahan 60/72 (1)
2009 Kenny Perry 53/72 (T-3)

This marks the second consecutive year that Stadler has shot four rounds in the 60s at TPC Scottsdale. His T-11 finish in 2013 was by far his best in this event prior to this year.

Year Finish Scores
2014 1 65-68-67-68=268
2013 T-11 68-68-69-63=268
2012 T-70 70-71-76-71=288
2011 MC 73-71=144
2010 T-70 66-73-77-68=284
2008 WD 69-67-76=212

The Masters isn’t the only tournament the victory gets Stadler into for the first time. The win moves him from 127th to 57th on the world ranking and secures his spot in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship for the first time. The top 64 players on the world ranking after this week’s AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am will advance, and if Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott all withdraw, as expected, the next four players will also qualify. Here’s who is on the bubble for the Match Play after the Phoenix Open.

World Rank Player Last Week
62 Mark Leishman MC, WMPO
63 Boo Weekley DNP
64 Richard Sterne T-54, Dubai
65 Scott Piercy T-15, WMPO
66 Kiradech Aphibarnrat T-67, WMPO
67 Brendon de Jonge T-53, WMPO
68 Brooks Koepka T-3, Dubai
69 Peter Uihlein MC, Dubai
70 Hyung-sung Kim DNP

Bubba Watson, meanwhile, lost despite holding the 54-hole lead for the sixth time in seven tries.

Watson with the 54-hole lead

Event Through 54 holes Sunday Result
2014 WMPO Led by two 71 Second
2013 Travelers Tied for lead 70 Fourth
2012 WGC-Cadillac Led by three 74 Second
2011 Deutsche Bank Led by one 74 T-16
2011 Zurich Tied for lead 69 Won playoff
2008 Arnold Palmer Tied for lead 72 T-8
2007 Shell Houston Led by three 72 T-2

Watson didn’t miss a putt from less than 5 feet at TPC Scottsdale, but was only seven of 12 from 5-7 feet, including his miss on the 72nd hole that would have forced a playoff with Stadler. Watson made 13 of 24 putts from 5-10 feet for the week, ranking 46th among players who made the cut. However, that is a slightly better percentage than Watson has for the season, his 47.22 percentage ranking 143rd on Tour. Stadler, who survived despite his own miss from that range on the last hole, made 10 of 14 putts from 5-10 feet and was 11th in the field for the week and 25th on Tour in 2013-14.