By: Fred Albers, PGA TOUR.COM Correspondent
AVONDALE, La. -- Lucas Glover just about hit his scoring average on Saturday. He ranks 17th on TOUR with a third-round scoring average of 69.5 and shot 70 in the third round at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. It’s the final round that has to change for Glover. He is ranks 92nd with a 71.2 average on Sunday. Glover missed his first short putt of the tournament when he misfired at the 14th from inside three feet. He is 31-for-32 on putts of three feet or less this week and has made 50 of 54 putts inside ten feet.
Distance: Guan Tianlang’s lack of strength finally showed on Saturday. The teenager has been giving up about four clubs’ distance per hole but scrambled his way around the course until a 77 dropped him into 71st place. The 14th hole played 220 yards and Guan hit 3-wood into the green while most players hit 5 irons down wind. It would seem he is most effective on difficult layouts where par is a good number and Guan can scramble his way around the course. However, it is very hard to compete on the PGA TOUR when you are hitting 3-wood into greens. That being said, Guan’s play this week has been remarkable and I would expect his distance to increase as he matures.
GIR: The best way to make birdies is to give yourself lots of birdie opportunities. That’s what Billy Horschel has done. He hit 16 of 18 greens on Saturday and is 42-for-54 for the week. Horschel has not just hit greens; he has given himself makeable putts. The Floridian is averaging 29-feet, 3-inches on approaches. That’s fifth best in the tournament.
Bounce back: Ricky Barnes did not have a hard time distinguishing between his second and third rounds. He shot 76 on Friday when he did not make a single birdie and bounced back with a 66 on Saturday when he went bogey-free with a half dozen birdies. Barnes hit 14 greens in both rounds but said his setup and line were better in the third round. He has had dramatic splits on the greens this week. Barnes took 26 putts on Thursday and Saturday with 33 putts on Friday.
Nature: TPC Louisiana is a very natural golf course. At times it is too natural. Alligators have wandered into the fairways this week and on Saturday there was concern when a swarm of bees took up residence next to the 17th green. Nobody was injured and the swarm moved on but PGA TOUR official Mickey Bradley was once again in charge of animal security.
Boo: Boo Weekley missed just six fairways in the first two rounds combined but scattered his driver on Saturday going 6-for-14. From the very first drive, he seemed out of synch on the golf course. It was also reflected in his putting where he took rounds of 27 and 28 strokes in the first two rounds then tumbled to 32 putts on Saturday. Many putts were missed to the right with an open club face.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here.
TPC Louisiana yielded the second-most birdies on the PGA TOUR last season. (Graythen/Getty Images)
By Bill Cooney, PGATOUR.COM
Well, well, well. Looks like Graeme McDowell's scrambling, which we've touched on before in Inside the Numbers, has helped him break a victory drought. McDowell's short game was fantastic at Harbour Town and it helped him win the RBC Heritage. Afterward, McDowell admitted that it took him awhile to get comfortable with his own game again the past few seasons, knowing that he's not going to bomb it out there 300 yards. Instead, McDowell relies on a strong short game and clutch putting -- which we'll take a look at this week -- to produce low scores.
.911 Strokes gained-putting number for McDowell in 2013, which ranks ninth on TOUR. … This is just one reason McDowell is playing so well. In fact, he’s outperforming the TOUR average by 16 shots this season. In 2012, McDowell ranked 160th in SGP (-.299) and in 2011 he was 92nd (.081).
5 Number of major stat categories McDowell ranked in the top 10 in at the RBC Heritage. … That includes driving accuracy (75.00, fifth), greens in regulation (66.67%, T7), scrambling 79.17%, first), strokes gained-putting (+1.467 avg., sixth) and average distance of putts made (83’3”, sixth).
22 Consecutive cuts made for Billy Horschel, currently the longest streak on TOUR. … Not only has Horschel secured plenty of paychecks, he’s banked several large ones of late. Horschel is working on a streak of three straight top 10s, which includes a T9 at the RBC Heritage. The biggest reason? Birdies and putting. Horschel ranks first on TOUR in total birdies with 194 and 26th in strokes gained-putting at .546.
79.17 percent McDowell’s scrambling percentage at the RBC Heritage, which led the field. McDowell made par or better on 19 of 24 missed greens for the week. … McDowell also ranks first on the PGA TOUR in 2013 at 72.46 percent (100 of 138). That’s an incredible improvement from the last few seasons. McDowell ranked 177th last season at 51.83 percent and 160th in 2011 at 54.01 percent.
91 Number of players that made the 36-hole cut at the RBC Heritage. … That number matches a record for the most players to make the cut in a non-major championship since 1970 on TOUR. Ninety-one players also made the cut at the 1981 Travelers Championship. Jesper Parnevik missed a 5-footer on Saturday morning to move the cut to 2 over. Afterward, Parnevik tweeted, “Everybody in the field at +2, put your envelopes in my locker…”
106 Number of putts at the RBC Heritage for Charley Hoffman, who led the field in strokes gained-putting (2.625). (Mark Wilson led the field in total putts with 102.) Hoffman had just 22 putts in Round 1, then 30 in Round 2, before putting just 21 times on Saturday (he hit eight greens in regulation). But in the final round, Hoffman had 33 putts – which ranked T67 in the field. Just imagine what could have been for Hoffman, who finished T6 with a final-round 77. Of course, Hoffman still picked up more than 10 shots on the field average on the greens for the week.
1,738 Number of birdies yielded at TPC Louisiana during the Zurich Classic of New Orleans last season, the second-most on TOUR in 2012. … Only TPC Deere Run yielded more birdies in 2012 at 1,894. The course is known for low scoring, as it ranked as the 11th easiest course on TOUR last season at 1.002 strokes under par.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS ARCHIVE
Week 2: Sony Open/Humana Challenge
Week 10: WGC-Cadillac/Tampa Bay Championship
Week 12: Arnold Palmer/Shell Houston Open
Week 13: Shell Houston/Valero Texas Open
Week 14: Valero/The Masters
Week 15: The Masters/RBC Heritage