October 11, 2018
By Matthew and Will Courchene, PGATOUR.COM
Justin Thomas' Round 1 highlights from CIMB
After Thursday’s first round at the CIMB Classic, Bronson Burgoon leads alone at 9 under par. In pursuit 1 stroke behind is Austin Cook, who is then followed by a trio of players at 7 under par. However, the clear frontrunner in terms of win probability is Justin Thomas, who sits one shot further back at 6 under par. Here are the top 10 win probabilities according to our live predictive model.
Thomas is in a league of his own this week according to our model. He is estimated to be 2.1 strokes better than the average PGA TOUR professional, while the second-best player in this field, Paul Casey, is estimated at just 1.2 strokes above the average professional. Thomas’ pre-tournament win probability was 14 percent; his 6 under par 66 on Thursday increased that number by 5 percentage points.
Thomas has been a model of consistency over the last year and a half. Shown below are Thomas’ adjusted strokes-gained (“True SG”) by event since 2015. The 2017 Open Championship is highlighted because this is the last time Justin Thomas had negative adjusted strokes-gained in an event, a remarkable achievement.
The CIMB Classic is one of the easier events to win on the PGA TOUR schedule; we estimate it to be similar to the John Deere Classic or the AT&T Byron Nelson. That being said, it is a great feat to win any PGA TOUR event. Even this week, where Justin Thomas is clearly in the best form of any player in this field, he still only has about a 1 in 7 chance of winning at the start of the week. This speaks to the variability in golfer performance, and lends credibility to the idea that “on any given day, anyone can win” in professional golf.
NOTE: These reports are based off the live predictive model run by @DataGolf. The model provides live “Make Cut”, “Top 20”, “Top 5”, and “Win” probabilities every 5 minutes from the opening tee shot to the final putt of every PGA TOUR event. Briefly, the model takes account of the current form of each golfer as well as the difficulty of their remaining holes, and probabilities are calculated from 10K simulations. To follow live finish probabilities throughout the remainder of the CIMB Classic, or to see how each golfer’s probabilities have evolved from the start of the event to the current time, click here for the model’s home page.