Monday, August 18, 2014

Are Bogies the Key to Winning?

In Bee Park won the LPGA Championship this weekend.  In four days, she totaled five bogies on a golf course set up to major championship standards.  That was the fewest bogies of anyone in the top ten and probably the field.

Many fans and fellow players point to In Bee's putting prowess as her biggest asset, but perhaps that is in addition to her short game skills.  If you look at the season-long stats of the top ten finishers in this tournament, you will see a lot of similarities.  They hit greens and lots of them!  The lowest is Lincicome at 69% and the highest is Pettersen at 78%.  That means that the top ten players all hit between 12.42 and 14.04 greens per round.  If all fall in between those numbers, most are hitting about 13 greens per round.

They are all very close with their putts on greens in regulation.  The best is Stacy Lewis at 1.75 and the worst (sic) is Brittany at 1.85.  If you turn stats into a story, that means Lewis hits about 14 greens a round and 1 putts about 4 of them.  Brittany hits about 12 greens per round and 1 putts about 2 of them.  This is over-simplistic, especially given the fact that Brittany is the longest off the tee and that stat helped her make an eagle.  Let's keep going with that train of thought.  The shortest hitter in this week's top ten was Julieta Granada, who averages more than 30 yards less than Brittany Lincicome.  However, she averages almost exactly the same in green hits at 70% and in p.g.i.r. at 1.78.  She also made an eagle this week, but coupled it with a double.

The point of that rundown of statistics is, there is very little difference between the stats of the best players on any tour.  The thing that seems to separate winners each week is the number of bogies they make or in other words, winners make fewer mistakes.  When the winner wins, they aren't far off of their normal stats as far as greens hit or putts made.  However, most make no doubles and few bogies.  Here are some stats from this week's professional events.

LPGA (4 rounds)
1.  In Bee Park - 5 bogies, no doubles.
2.  Brittany Lincicome - 10 bogies, no doubles.
3.  Lydia Ko - 11 bogies, no doubles.
4.  Azahara Munoz - 7 bogies, 2 doubles.
5.  Anna Nordqvist - 8 bogies, 1 double.

PGA (4 rounds)
1.  Camilo Villegas - 4 bogies
t2.  Bill Haas - 4 bogies, 1 double.
t2.  Freddie Jacobson - 5 bogies.
4.  Heath Slocum - 10 bogies.
t5. Brant Snedeker - 6 bogies.
t5. Webb Simpson - 4 bogies, 1 double.
t5. Nick Watney - 3 bogies, 1 double.

Symetra Tour (3 rounds)
1.  Marissa Steen - 3 bogies.
2.  Demi Runas - 2 bogies, 1 double.
3.  Madison Pressel - 8 bogies.
4.  Lauren Doughtie -5 bogies.
t5. Stephanie Connelly - 3 bogies.
t5. Olivia Jordan-Higgins - 6 bogies.
t5. Hye-Min Kim - 6 bogies, 1 double.
t5. Kendall Dye - 9 bogies.
t5. Veronica Felibert - 4 bogies, 1 double.

Web.com Tour (4 rounds)
 1.  Martin Piller - 4 bogies.
2.  Bronson Burgoon - 3 bogies, 1 double.
3.  Darren Stiles - 3 bogies, 1 double.
4.  Ryan Armour - 5 bogies.
5.  Taylor Vaughn - 6 bogies.

The amazing thing is that the fewest bogies won in each tour.  The only anomaly was Stephanie Connelly, but when her stats are presented, she averages almost 4 greens fewer per round (58% vs. 79%) than Marissa Steen. That provides fewer opportunities for birdies.

So the question you need to be asking yourself if you want to win tournaments is a simple one?  What causes my bogies and how do I work to remove these things from my game?  The other obvious question is, which stats are most important and how can I be among the leaders in these stats.  On each tour, the top ten players seem to be near the top in the two stats outlined above; greens in regulation and putts on greens in regulation.  If those two stats aren't among the best, your game encounters more stress from day-to-day and it is tough to be consistently near the top of the leaderboard.

In Bee Park




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