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Strokes Gained at the PGA: Day claims his first major

Jason Day prevailed in a duel with Jordan Spieth to win the PGA Championship. It was 27-year-old Day’s first major victory, following six top five finishes in majors since 2010.

Day’s performance was dominating. He beat the field by an average of 5.4 strokes per round (or 21.4 strokes for the tournament), while a winner typically beats the field by 3.7 strokes per round (or 15 strokes in a tournament). Spieth beat the field by 4.6 strokes per round (or 18.4 strokes for the tournament), which is normally enough for a win, but was only good enough for second place this week.

Day won on the strength of his driving and approach shots. He led the field in strokes gained driving, gaining nearly two strokes per round on the field with his driver.   He was ranked second in strokes gained from approach shots. Day was ranked 13 in strokes gained putting for the tournament, but he led the field in putting in the final round. Here’s a round-by-round strokes gained breakdown of Day’s play at the PGA Championship:

  Strokes gained per round (ranks in parentheses) Rank
Jason Day Total Drive Appr Short Putt out of
2015 Season 2.0 (5) 0.7 (8) 0.3 (57) 0.4 (28) 0.6 (9) 208
PGA Championship 5.4 (1) 1.8 (1) 1.7 (2) 0.6 (27) 1.2 (13) 77
Round 1 6.1 (9) 1.7 (6) 4.3 (1) -0.8 (107) 0.9 (54) 156
Round 2 5.9 (6) 1.9 (5) 3.1 (2) 2.1 (20) -1.2 (116) 154
Round 3 4.6 (7) 1.8 (2) 0.5 (29) 0.2 (40) 2.1 (14) 77
Round 4 4.7 (4) 1.8 (2) -1.1 (62) 0.8 (24) 3.2 (1) 77

Spieth’s short game was stellar. He led the field in strokes gained from short game shots, gaining over two strokes per round with his wedge play. Here’s a round-by-round strokes gained breakdown of Spieth’s play at the PGA Championship:

  Strokes gained per round (ranks in parentheses) Rank
Jordan Spieth Total Drive Appr Short Putt out of
2015 Season 2.7 (1) 0.6 (13) 0.8 (7) 0.7 (3) 0.7 (7) 208
PGA Championship 4.6 (2) 0.6 (23) 1.1 (12) 2.1 (1) 0.9 (21) 77
Round 1 3.1 (33) 0.5 (44) 1.9 (21) 2.5 (7) -1.7 (127) 156
Round 2 5.9 (11) 0.7 (45) 1.3 (36) 3.1 (6) 0.9 (54) 154
Round 3 5.6 (4) 0.6 (16) 1.5 (11) 1.1 (21) 2.4 (10) 77
Round 4 3.7 (13) 0.6 (28) -0.4 (48) 1.5 (12) 2.1 (13) 77

The top finishers at the PGA Championship gained 35 percent of their strokes on the field with their putting and another 24 percent with their driving. Here’s a strokes gained breakdown of the top eleven finishers:

  Strokes gained per round (ranks in parentheses)  
Golfer Total Drive Appr Short Putt
Jason Day 5.4 (1) 1.8 (1) 1.7 (2) 0.6 (27) 1.2 (13)
Jordan Spieth 4.6 (2) 0.6 (23) 1.1 (12) 2.1 (1) 0.9 (21)
Branden Grace 4.1 (3) 0.8 (11) 0.9 (19) 0.5 (32) 1.9 (5)
Justin Rose 3.9 (4) 1.2 (5) 0.4 (39) 0.6 (25) 1.6 (9)
Brooks Koepka 3.6 (T5) 0.6 (22) 0.2 (46) 1.5 (3) 1.3 (12)
Anirban Lahiri 3.6 (T5) 1.3 (4) 0.6 (30) 0.2 (47) 1.4 (10)
Dustin Johnson 3.4 (T7) 1.8 (2) 0.2 (45) -0.3 (65) 1.7 (7)
Matt Kuchar 3.4 (T7) 0.7 (18) 1.4 (6) 1.3 (4) 0.0 (52)
George Coetzee 3.4 (T7) -0.3 (64) 0.1 (52) 1.3 (5) 2.3 (3)
Tony Finau 3.1 (T10) 0.7 (19) 1.0 (15) 0.3 (46) 1.2 (15)
Robert Streb 3.1 (T10) 0.9 (10) 0.8 (20) 0.3 (44) 1.1 (18)
Top 11 average 3.8 0.9 0.8 0.8 1.3
Fraction of total 100% 24% 20% 20% 35%

Here’s a strokes gained breakdown of the final round for the top eleven finishers at the PGA Championship:

  Strokes gained in the final round (ranks in parentheses)
Player Total Drive Appr Short Putt
Jason Day 4.7 (T3) 1.8 (2) -1.1 (62) 0.8 (24) 3.2 (1)
Jordan Spieth 3.7 (T10) 0.6 (28) -0.4 (48) 1.5 (12) 2.1 (13)
Branden Grace 2.7 (18) 0.1 (44) 0.9 (16) -1.2 (60) 2.9 (5)
Justin Rose 1.7 (25) 0.8 (15) 0.1 (38) 0.9 (23) 0.0 (41)
Brooks Koepka 5.7 (T1) 0.6 (25) 1.2 (13) 1.5 (13) 2.4 (7)
Anirban Lahiri 3.7 (T10) 0.8 (14) 0.0 (41) -0.1 (39) 3.0 (2)
Dustin Johnson 2.7 (14) 1.0 (10) 0.1 (36) -1.3 (62) 3.0 (4)
Matt Kuchar 3.7 (T10) 0.5 (29) 0.6 (22) 2.2 (5) 0.3 (34)
George Coetzee 4.7 (T3) 0.6 (23) 0.5 (24) 2.1 (7) 1.5 (18)
Tony Finau 0.7 (35) 0.6 (26) 3.2 (2) -1.6 (66) -1.4 (61)
Robert Streb 4.7 (T3) 0.8 (19) 1.9 (9) 0.1 (34) 1.9 (14)

This post appeared originally on pgatour.com here


A very brief explanation of strokes gained:
Strokes gained is a measure of the quality of a golf shot. A shot with positive strokes gained indicates a better-than-average shot for a PGA TOUR pro. For example, suppose on a difficult par-4 that the PGA TOUR average score is 4.2. An average drive for a PGA TOUR player would reduce the average strokes to hole out by one, from 4.2 to 3.2. If a player hit a long drive into the fairway where the PGA TOUR average strokes to hole out is 2.9, then the shot gained 0.3 strokes compared to the PGA TOUR average. If a player hit a short drive into the rough where the PGA TOUR average strokes to hole out is 3.4, then the shot lost 0.2 strokes compared to the PGA TOUR average. Strokes gained from all shots are accumulated and grouped into convenient categories to measure the performance of players in a round, tournament, or season. For example, the gain from all tee shots on par-4 and par-5 holes is strokes gained driving measure. The gain from all shots starting outside 100 yards from the hole, excluding tee shots on par-4 and par-5 holes, is strokes gained from approach shots.

 

 

 

 

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