Last year’s Monday Qualifier extraordinaire Patrick Reed proved that he could go low and get it done on Sunday, as well, with his victory at the Wyndham Championship. The playoff between Reed and Jordan Spieth will be most remembered for Reed’s remarkable shot from under the trees that he knocked to seven-feet for birdie on the second extra hole. However, it was his solid play, especially with his irons, that put him in position to contend, and then, win. As to the young Mr. Spieth, well, there are very good reasons he was in the playoff, as well — the Numbers tell the story.
- Reed’s ballstriking led the way at Wyndham, as he ranked first for greens in regulation and second in proximity to the hole in the stats last week. To put it mildly, that’s a pretty potent combination. When you’re hitting more greens than anyone else, and you’re hitting it closer than nearly everyone else, you are giving yourself more good birdie looks than anyone else. And you’re giving yourself fewer chances to make a bogey (or worse) than anyone else. That’s a decent way to ensure that you are going to post a good score.
- Even if you give yourself more birdie opportunities — and more good ones, at that — than the rest of the field, it does not matter if you do not hole long putts. For the Wyndham Championship, Reed was fifth in strokes gained putting, picking up 1.7 strokes per round on the field average.
- The only area that Patrick Reed didn’t excel was with scrambling, which is a tad surprising given that he putted well — and of course, since he didn’t have to scramble very often, maybe he just couldn’t get the feel around the greens in the rare times he missed it in regulation. For the tournament, Reed was ranked 56th in scrambling. Spieth, on the other hand, was T2 for the week in scrambling, which equated to getting up-and-down a remarkable 80% of the time that he missed the green.
- However, Spieth needed to get up-and-down to stay in the tournament often because he only finished T23rd for the week in greens in regulation. Which is not to say that he was hitting his approach shots poorly, given he finished ranked 1st for the week in approach shot proximity to the hole. So, it doesn’t suggest he was being riskier than many others. When Spieth pulled off the shot he wanted, he gave himself good birdie looks, but he (probably) took aggressive lines, and hence, he missed more GIR than Reed, so he had to rely on his scrambling ability to save par.
- One stat I rarely use is driving accuracy. Here is why: For the tournament, Reed was T38 in fairways hit, while Spieth was T9. Despite the discrepancy in fairways hit, Reed was able to hit more greens, and get the ball nearly as close as Spieth. Distance matters (THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID!), and your margin of error when you miss the fairways. However, driving accuracy does not take either of those factors into account.
There you have it, the Wyndham Championship’s edition of By the Numbers. With the winner’s check, Patrick Reed can now afford to live large this week in New York City for The Barclays!
-Shoshana Agus-Kleinman (email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @shoseak)