Saturday, July 10, 2010

Putting for 59

In the first round at the TPC Deere Run, Paul Goydos fired a 12-under 59, and defending Champion Steve Stricker notched an equally impressive 11-under 60. So what sort of putting does that require?

Goydos had 22 putts and Stricker used 25. Both reached 16 greens in regulation. Neither player carded a bogey, and saved par on both the greens they missed.

For Goydos, his round featured one chip-in for birdie on a par 3 where he had missed the green, and on the other hole where he missed the green, he chipped from 15 yards to 5'6" and sank the par-save putt. Stricker on his two missed-green holes similarly saved par by chipping on from 8 yards to 5'1" and sank that one and also came out of a greenside bunker to 13'1" and saved that par as well. Goydos added 11 more birdies by 1-putting 11 greens. Stricker birdied two par 5s with 2-putts after reaching the greens in two shots, and then added 9 1-putt greens for birdie.

The story resides in how these two players got thru the 16 greens reached in regulation with their putting.

Goydos faced 16 first-putt birdie opportunities and sank 11 of these, from 5'9", 17'6", 18'2", 12'4", 5'7", 39'4", 19'7", 24'7", 5'8", 11'0", and 7'3". On the par-save hole, he 1-putted from 5'6". The average length of his DOZEN 1-putts was 14'5"! Only 3 of these 12 putts are inside 10 feet and 5 of them are from outside 15 feet.

And Paul didn't really MISS any of the other birdie opportunities either, since the 5 2-putts for par came from distances of 9'5", 45'3", 53'9", 35'4", and 21'11" -- all but one outside 20 feet. Outside of 15 feet, he faced 9 putts and sank 5 of them and missed only 4. he 1-putted 12 greens and 2-putted only 5.

Stricker performed with nearly equal greatness with his putting. Steve dropped 9 1-putts for birdies (from 16'1", 6'6", 40'8", 27'10", 4'8", 24'3", 15'0", 14'11", and 2'3") and saved par with 1-putts twice (from 5'1" and 13'1"). Steve's 1-putts on all 11 holes averaged 13'6". He 1-putted 11 of 18 holes and 2-putted 7.

And Steve also didn't MISS the other first putts in any sense either. He 2-putted the other 7 greens, 5 holes for par from 25'11", 17'7", 31'4", 18'1", 18'10", and 2 holes for birdies on par 5s from 22'6" and 66'9". The average length of these other 7 first putts was 28'8".

Hitting 16 greens in regulation is definitely to be applauded, but in the scoring game, that's only the beginning. Without solid par-saving and two-putting for par to keep the bogeys off the card on one-fourth of these holes, AND THEN 1-putting the other three-fourths of the GIR holes like a maniac, no one shoots 60 or lower.

The current leading performance statistic for proximity to the hole on greens reached in regulation is 31'6" and proximity for greens reached from the fairway is 28'4". The leading stat for percentage of birdies made from fairway approaches is 27.4%. Paul Goydos and Steve Stricker both exceeded this by a mile -- Goydos dropping 11 of 16 birdies from the fairway, and Stricker also dropping 11 of 16 birdies from the fairway. That's over 2.5 times better than the season's leading birdie percentage.


Geoff Mangum
Putting Coach and Theorist -- golf's most advanced and comprehensive putting instruction.
15 Academies and 77 Coaches in 15 Countries Worldwide.

No comments: