merritt_quicken

Strokes Gained at the Quicken Loans: Merritt wins after five missed cuts

After five missed cuts in a row, Troy Merritt broke through for his first PGA TOUR victory at the Quicken Loans National. Merritt’s previous best finishes include a second-place finish at the FedEx St. Jude Classic in 2014 and a third-place finish at the RBC Heritage this year.

After the round, Merritt said, “Players out here are really good. Ever since the summer started I’ve had two over-par rounds and I’ve missed every cut.” The lesson, he said, “You just don’t give up. I mean if you feel like things are close, you keep grinding because there’s just that one little thing … We found that one little thing.”

The little thing that Merritt found on Tuesday afternoon was his hand position at address. “It gave me just that little bit more freedom in the back swing, little extra time and to hit a lot of quality golf shots this week.” Merritt won with great ballstriking, reflected in his tournament-leading strokes gained from approach shots. He gained 3.8 strokes per round on the field, with his approach shots contributing 65 percent of his gain (2.4 strokes per round, rank 1).

Merritt’s putting contributed 31 percent (1.2 strokes per round, rank 10) to his total gain. “We found something Saturday morning with the alignment of the putter. The shoulders needed to squared up a little bit. We found the hole a lot on Saturday,” he said. The strokes gained putting stats back that up. In the third round on Saturday, Merritt led the field gaining 4.8 strokes on the field with his putting.   Here’s a round-by-round strokes gained breakdown of Merritt’s play at the Quicken Loans National:

Strokes gained per round (ranks in parentheses) Rank
Troy Merritt Total Drive Appr Short Putt out of
2015 Season 0.1 (100) -0.3 (159) -0.1 (127) -0.1 (133) 0.6 (11) 199
Quicken Loans National 3.8 (1) -0.1 (44) 2.4 (1) 0.3 (29) 1.2 (10) 75
Round 1 -0.5 (81) -0.1 (68) 1.2 (27) 0.6 (30) -2.2 (107) 120
Round 2 2.1 (38) -0.1 (65) 1.9 (16) -0.2 (73) 0.5 (47) 120
Round 3 8.9 (1) 0.1 (42) 3.5 (2) 0.5 (22) 4.8 (1) 75
Round 4 4.7 (4) -0.3 (48) 3.3 (3) 0.2 (38) 1.5 (12) 75

Rickie Fowler finished in second place, three stroke behind Merritt. Here’s a round-by-round strokes gained breakdown of Rickie Fowler’s play at the Quicken Loans National:

Strokes gained per round (ranks in parentheses) Rank
Rickie Fowler Total Drive Appr Short Putt out of
2015 Season 1.0 (30) 0.2 (64) 0.4 (43) 0.2 (54) 0.1 (77) 199
Quicken Loans National 3.0 (2) 0.5 (15) 1.4 (8) -0.2 (55) 1.3 (9) 75
Round 1 2.5 (19) -0.1 (65) 2.8 (6) -0.2 (63) 0.0 (66) 120
Round 2 5.1 (3) 0.9 (13) 0.8 (41) 0.5 (34) 2.9 (7) 120
Round 3 1.9 (18) 0.8 (20) 0.5 (32) -1.0 (60) 1.5 (13) 75
Round 4 2.7 (16) 0.4 (26) 1.3 (12) -0.1 (44) 1.0 (25) 75

Tiger Woods finished in a tie for 18th, his best finish of the year since the Masters. After the round, Woods said, “I’m hitting the ball up there with some of the bigger guys again. I got my speed nice on top of that and the fact I was able to make some putts and the short game becoming good again like it used to be.”   Here’s a round-by-round strokes gained breakdown of Woods’s play at the Quicken Loans National:

Strokes gained per round (ranks in parentheses) Rank
Tiger Woods Total Drive Appr Short Putt out of
2015 Season -1.0 (183) -0.7 (193) 0.4 (42) -0.9 (199) 0.3 (43) 199
Quicken Loans National 1.3 (18) -0.2 (50) 0.4 (34) 0.1 (38) 0.9 (16) 75
Round 1 1.5 (27) 0.4 (35) 0.9 (33) 0.3 (44) -0.1 (68) 120
Round 2 4.1 (5) 0.8 (19) 3.1 (4) -1.0 (100) 1.2 (28) 120
Round 3 -4.1 (68) -1.9 (72) -3.0 (71) 1.0 (12) -0.3 (42) 75
Round 4 3.7 (7) 0.1 (39) 0.5 (31) 0.2 (36) 2.8 (4) 75

The top finishers at the Quicken Loans National gained 41 percent of the strokes on the field with their approach shots and 36 percent with their putting. Here’s a strokes gained breakdown of the top ten finishers:

Strokes gained per round (ranks in parentheses)
Golfer Total Drive Appr Short Putt
Troy Merritt 3.8 (1) -0.1 (44) 2.4 (1) 0.3 (29) 1.2 (10)
Rickie Fowler 3.0 (2) 0.5 (15) 1.4 (8) -0.2 (55) 1.3 (9)
David Lingmerth 2.8 (3) 0.7 (7) 0.0 (48) 0.4 (25) 1.8 (3)
Carl Pettersson 2.3 (T4) 0.0 (39) 1.1 (11) -0.6 (68) 1.7 (4)
Jason Bohn 2.3 (T4) 0.1 (36) 1.0 (14) -0.5 (66) 1.7 (5)
Bill Haas 2.3 (T4) 0.5 (18) 1.4 (7) 0.6 (15) -0.2 (52)
Danny Lee 2.3 (T4) 0.5 (13) 1.0 (16) 0.3 (28) 0.4 (31)
Justin Thomas 2.3 (T4) 0.5 (17) 0.5 (27) 0.3 (27) 0.9 (15)
Justin Rose 2.3 (T4) 0.8 (4) 1.0 (17) 0.5 (20) 0.0 (45)
Ryo Ishikawa 2.0 (10) 0.1 (34) 0.5 (26) 1.0 (3) 0.3 (33)
Top 10 average 2.5 0.4 1.1 0.2 0.9
Fraction of total 100% 14% 41% 8% 36%

Here’s a strokes gained breakdown of the final round for the top ten finishers at the Quicken Loans National:

Strokes gained in the final round (ranks in parentheses)
Player Total Drive Appr Short Putt
Troy Merritt 4.7 (4) -0.3 (48) 3.3 (3) 0.2 (38) 1.5 (12)
Rickie Fowler 2.7 (16) 0.4 (26) 1.3 (12) -0.1 (44) 1.0 (25)
David Lingmerth 2.7 (18) 0.3 (34) 0.2 (41) -1.0 (57) 3.2 (3)
Carl Pettersson 1.7 (27) -1.7 (71) 1.1 (15) 0.9 (19) 1.4 (14)
Jason Bohn 0.7 (33) 0.6 (16) 0.8 (22) -1.2 (60) 0.4 (35)
Bill Haas 1.7 (22) 0.7 (14) 1.7 (8) 0.2 (34) -1.0 (55)
Danny Lee 2.7 (15) 0.2 (35) 0.3 (37) 0.4 (31) 1.8 (11)
Justin Thomas 4.7 (2) 0.9 (12) 0.8 (25) 0.5 (28) 2.5 (5)
Justin Rose 1.7 (21) 2.0 (1) 0.2 (40) 0.6 (25) -1.2 (57)
Ryo Ishikawa 0.7 (35) -0.2 (46) 0.2 (38) 1.6 (6) -1.0 (54)

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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