Rory McIlroy is one of four players to finish double digits under par at PGA National during The Honda Classic.
By Bill Cooney, PGATOUR.COM
To say the least, Matt Kuchar and Hunter Mahan showed the importance of the short game at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.
Clutch putting and chipping stood out at Dove Mountain. And no doubt, Kuchar used plenty of it to defeat Mahan. But the biggest reason for Kuchar's success in 2013 might surprise you. Let's take a look at some match play stats and the upcoming Honda Classic by going inside the numbers ...
0.898 The number represents how many strokes Hunter Mahan is picking up on the field average in putting per round in 2013. (His strokes gained-putting number). That’s good enough to rank 15th in that category. ... Mahan’s short game looks pretty sharp so far and it’s a big reason for his early success. Always a solid ball-striker, putting has been the biggest key for him. Last season, Mahan finished 111th in SGP, losing .077 strokes to the field average each round. Over the course of a tournament, that’s a big turnaround from -.077 to .898.
3 Number of players that reached the Final Four at Accenture that ranked inside the top 20 in scrambling at year-end of the 2012 season. … Ian Poulter (2), Kuchar (7) and Jason Day (19) all have tremendous short games and it’s no secret that being able to get up-and-down like Tin Cup works brilliantly in match play. Even Mahan, who ranked 157th in scrambling last season showed tremendous touch around the greens in both Sunday matches – including his amazing 67-foot chip-in on the 12th hole at Dove Mountain.
4.30 That’s the par-5 scoring average for Kuchar, which ranks third on TOUR this season. … Kuchar already has four eagles in 2013 – all on par 5s – compared to five for the entire 2012 season. He was T84 in par-5 scoring at 4.67 last season. Not surprisingly he's off to an impressive start, with three top 10s in five events. Most of his stats are similarly solid when comparing the past few seasons. But Kuchar is really benefiting from the par 5s. He’s T13 in eagles per hole compared to 133rd in that category in 2012.
5 Number of top-five finishes for Poulter in WGC events. He has two wins (2010 Accenture Match Play, 2012 HSBC Champions), a T2 at the 2006 Cadillac Championship and a fourth-place finish at the 2005 Accenture Match Play. … Poulter has six other top fives in his career on TOUR, most notably runner-up finishes at the 2008 British Open (Royal Birkdale) and in THE PLAYERS Championship in 2009.
15-3 Kuchar’s record at the Accenture Match Play. Since losing in Round 2 of the 2010 event, his first appearance, Kuchar has finished 3rd (2011), T5 (2012) and won (2013). … Maybe it’s time to crown him the king of match play?
106 Total number of players who have finished under par after four rounds in the six years that The Honda Classic has been played at the Champion Course at PGA National. Only four players – Rory McIlroy ('12 winner), Woods ('12), Tom Gillis ('12) and 2010 champ Camilo Villegas have finished at double digits under par … The Bear Trap is no joke. It’s routinely ranked as one of the toughest tracks on TOUR. In fact, it’s been in the top-10 most difficult in five of the six years — which includes major championship courses. It was the second-most difficult course on TOUR in 2011 and 2010. It ranked 11th most difficult last season.
$1,809,003.58 Career earnings for Luke Donald at The Honda Classic. Donald has three top 10s in six events, winning in 2006 and finishing second in 2008. … The golfer in second might come as a bit of surprise. It’s Y.E. Yang, who has cashed $1,668,952.50, getting a win in 2009 and a runner-up in 2011. Yang is in the field this week.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS ARCHIVE
Week 2: Sony Open/Humana Challenge