Henrik Stenson ranks first in four major statistical categories in 2013. (Halleran/Getty Images)
By Bill Cooney, PGATOUR.COM
D.A. Points won the Shell Houston Open with a clutch 13-foot par putt on the 72nd hole on Sunday. Everyone will remember the story about Points using his mom's old putter. But don't forget about those wedges (we're pretty sure those aren't from mom, too). Points' scrambling was pretty tidy in Houston, especially in comparison to his stats from this season. We'll take a look at that and also this week's Valero Texas Open -- played at difficult TPC San Antonio -- by going inside the numbers.
1st Ranking next to Henrik Stenson’s name in four major statistical categories in 2013. … Stenson, who ranked 133rd in the world just eight months ago, has really turned his game around. He’s played five events in ’13 (four stroke play) and ranks first in driving accuracy (72.96 percent), greens in regulation (77.78 percent), scrambling (75 percent) and total driving. And now -- buoyed by a T2 at the Shell Houston Open, he’s headed to the Masters.
+1.989 That’s how many average strokes TPC San Antonio played over par at the 2012 Valero Texas Open. The AT&T Oaks Course was the fourth most-difficult course on the PGA TOUR last season. It was also the seventh most-difficult on TOUR in 2011 (+1.665). … There have been several renovations to the golf course in preparation for this week’s tournament -- in which Rory McIlroy is playing for the first time -- which includes alterations to the first, fourth, 10th and 12th greens.
6 This number is a reason to keep an eye on Ben Curtis at this week’s Valero Texas Open. It represents the number of defending champions from 2012 that have posted top-five finishes in 2013. Steve Stricker (2nd at Hyundai Tournament of Champions), Brandt Snedeker (T2 at Farmers Insurance), Bill Haas (T3 at Northern Trust), Hunter Mahan (WGC-Accenture Match Play), Luke Donald (T4 Tampa Bay Championship presented by EverBank) and Tiger Woods (Win at Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard) have carded T5s. Of course, four defending champs have missed weekend play. … Curtis, defending this week at TPC San Antonio, missed the weekend in Houston and has just a pair of T25s this season. So will it be feast or famine for him this week?
9 Number of eagles made this season by Chris Kirk, which leads the TOUR. … Yes, Kirk has an incredible nine eagles in 31 rounds. Not bad, considering Charles Howell III led the TOUR last season with 18 eagles in 98 rounds. Even more ridiculous, Kirk hasn’t even had an eagle in his past two tournaments or eight rounds. He had three eagles at the Sony Open in Hawaii and three at the Northern Trust Open. He also had a hole in one at the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation. It’s even more impressive when considering a player such as Lee Westwood has no eagles in 2013.
12 of 15 For you non-math majors that comes out to 80 percent, or Points’ scrambling percentage at Shell Houston, which ranked fifth in the field. … This essentially helped Points win his second career event on TOUR, as you may recall his incredible saves on the 17th and 18th holes in the final round. He got up-and-down from 43 yards out on 17 and made a 13-foot, 5-inch putt on the 18th to win. The 80 percent clip is also a dramatic improvement for Points. In 2013, Points ranks 116th in scrambling at 57.56 percent. He was T112 in 2012, at 56.50 percent.
146th Scrambling rank for Dustin Johnson in 2013, or a rate of 55 percent. … What’s the big deal, you ask? No, Johnson wouldn’t be a top pick to win a short-game contest on TOUR. But last season, he had improved dramatically from past years. He ranked 32nd in scrambling at 60.29 percent and 38th in sand saves at 53.85 percent. Not bad, considering the best he ranked in scrambling from 2008 to ’11 was 139th. Johnson has just three T25s in nine events in ’13, but poor scrambling stats haven’t affected Johnson much during his career. We’ll have to see if it affects him in '13.
169 feet, 4 inches Distance in putts made for Points in the first round of Shell Houston. … Points needed just 23 strokes on the greens during a first-round, 8-under 64. He gained nearly 5 strokes on the field average during Round 1. Points cooled off a bit on the greens, but finished the week 10th in strokes gained-putting. For 2013, Points ranks 152nd in SGP -- the reason he sought help with his putting and added his mom’s old putter to his bag.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS ARCHIVE
Week 2: Sony Open/Humana Challenge
Week 10: WGC-Cadillac/Tampa Bay Championship
Week 12: Shell Houston Open