Brandt Snedeker was his usual self again on the greens, moving up 60 spots in strokes gained-putting.
By Bill Cooney, PGATOUR.COM
Phil Mickelson's near-record setting victory at the Waste Management Phoenix Open came down to a pair of statistics: Driving and iron play. Mickelson incresed his distance off the tee and was laser-like with his irons. Mickelson said a lesson with Butch Harmon and a new driver did the trick.
How good was Mickelson with his driver and irons? Well, let's go inside the numbers to find out ...
4 What did the top-four finishers at WM Phoenix have in common? Drive for show, putt for dough right? All four – Mickelson (5th), Brandt Snedeker (4th), Scott Piercy (1st) and Ryan Moore (2nd) rolled their way to a high finish. Combined, the top four picked up nearly 45 strokes on the field average for the week. … James Hahn, who was third in SGP on the week, was T16 – but first in the dance-off portion of the competition.
7 Number of times Mickelson has led a tournament in greens in regulation and won. Mickelson hit 63 of 72 greens at the WM Phoenix, which marked the 15th time he’s led a tournament in GIR. … Mickelson also led the field in GIR and won the 2007 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, 2006 BellSouth Classic, 2004 Masters, 2000 Buick Invitational, 1997 Bay Hill Invitational and 1993 Buick Invitational of California.
9 under Strokes under par Mickelson was on the par 3s at TPC Scottsdale. ... That’s phenomenal, and it's also the second-best par-3 performance during any tournament on TOUR since 1980. Only Justin Leonard was better – he was 10 under on the par 3s in winning the 1996 Buick Open. Mickelson also birdied all four par 3s in his first-round 60.
14 of 15 Number of times/attempts that David Lingmerth has carded birdie or better when going for the green in two shots on a par 5 or in one on a par 4. Only Robert Allenby is better in 2013, having converted 6 of 6 attempts. … Lingmerth, who also ranks third in strokes gained-putting, is a rookie Web.com Tour grad off to a solid start this season. He had a T31 at the Sony Open in Hawaii and lost a playoff to Brian Gay at the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation. Looks like Lingmerth should go for the green as many times as possible.
16 Consecutive cuts made for Ian Poulter, the new TOUR leader after Jason Dufner’s cut streak ended at 22 with a disappointing showing in Phoenix. … Poulter’s streak includes his entire 2012 PGA TOUR season. His last missed cut was the 2011 Deutsche Bank Championship. During the streak, Poulter had four top 10s, including two thirds and a win at the WGC-HSBC Champions. He opened 2013 with a T9 at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
27 feet, 6 inches Mickelson’s approach shot proximity average, which ranked first at WM Phoenix. … That was 7 feet closer to the hole than the field average of 34 feet, 7 inches. It’s also the fifth time in Mickelson’s career where he led this category (stat first kept in 2003) and second time he led and won (2004 Bob Hope).
32 Consecutive greens in regulation that Charlie Wi hit starting on No. 16 in the first round of the WM Phoenix. ... Not too shabby. It’s no surprise that Wi carded a 63 in Round 2 when he went 18-for-18. But he tailed off, finishing T49. For comparison, Wi’s streak of 32 would have been third-best for the entire 2012 season. Chad Campbell hit 35 greens in a row to lead that category in 2012.
60 The number of spots Snedeker moved up in his 2013 strokes gained-putting ranking following the WM Phoenix. Snedeker – who ranked No. 1 last season -- now ranks 25th and appears to be hitting his stride. He had 35 one-putts and only one three-putt in 72 holes on the week. Sneds also averaged 25 putts per round, No. 1 on the week.
200 Consecutive holes Casey Wittenberg has gone without a three-putt. … That’s tops on TOUR in 2013. So how ironic is it that his streak of 200 started after back-to-back three-putts in Round 2 of the Sony Open in Hawaii?
298.9 Driving distance average for Phil Mickelson at the WM Phoenix. That tied for 12th for the week – which included a 358-yard poke. … Last week in Inside the Numbers, we pointed out Mickelson’s decline in driving distance during 2012 and during his first two weeks of the season. He entered Phoenix at 284.6 and 126th on TOUR. But after a switch in equipment – he put the Callaway RAZR Fit Xtreme driver in his bag at Phoenix – and a quick lesson from swing coach Harmon, Mickelson was back up near 300 yards. Will the new driver make all of the difference? Mickelson did say his new club helped keep the spin down off the tee. We’ll have to revisit this stat later in the year.
782 FedExCup points for leader and reigning champ Brandt Snedeker, who has picked up right where he left off. Snedeker has done everything but win this season, carding two runner-ups, a third and a T23 in four starts. … For comparison, Kyle Stanley held the lead last season through the WM Phoenix with 846 points. But Stanley picked up 500 of those points via a victory.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS ARCHIVE
Week 2: Sony Open/Humana Challenge