Welcome to GOLFstats.com! You are currently viewing a special post on GOLFstats.com .
For the best experience and full access to GOLFstats.com, CLICK HERE to sign up for a $15 one month GOLFstats Ultimate account!

BlogWho will win at Pinehurst Sunday?

U.S. Open

June 12 – 15, 2014

Pinehurst Resort (Course #2)

Pinehurst, N.C.

Par: 70 / Yardage: 7,562

Purse: $8 million (last year’s)

with $1,440,000 (last year’s) to the winner

Defending Champion:
Justin Rose

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

Things you need to know before Sunday’s final round:

So did the course got the best of everyone on Saturday?

In a way, it did but if you look at the hardcore number that the course played to a 73.84 average it wasn’t super tough.  What happened was the guys at the top played terrible.  If you look at Martin Kaymer’s round of 72, there is two ways of looking at it.  His 72 was 2 over par for the day that many may feel is high.  But if you look at it by the average score of the field it’s just a notch below 2 under.  For the week the average score is 73.20, let’s call it an even 73, that means Kaymer is 17 under for the week, pretty awesome total.

You said the guys at the top played bad, how bad?

Brendon Todd was in second place but shot 79 and he is now T30th, 12 shots back.  Those that were T-3rd on Friday evening, Kevin Na had a 73 while Brandt Snedeker had a 72.  Those T-5th at 2 under, Brooks Koepka had 72, Brendon De Jonge had 73, Keegan Bradley had 76 so all of these players lost ground on Kaymer.  Two players that were at 2 under did make up some ground on Kaymer, both Dustin Johnson and Henrik Stenson shot 70 but they are both at 2 under, six back that is a big number.  Only two players broke 70 on Saturday, Rickie Fowler and Erik Compton, they climbed into a T2nd at 3 under and will start Sunday’s final round five back of Kaymer.

So how was Kaymer’s day?

With the pressure of being in the final group on a Saturday of a major, Kaymer’s 72 wasn’t bad.  He looked like a person that just wanted to make pars as he only had one birdie, on 18 along with five bogeys.  But have to think his key was after hitting a poor tee shot at 5 into the waste area, he was able to get his second shot five feet away on the par 5 and make the putt for eagle.  Kaymer didn’t hit the ball as well on Saturday as he did in the first two days.   He hit 10 of 14 fairways but wasn’t as sharp from the fairway hitting only 10 of 18 greens.  He took 30 putts that is respectable and on the whole his day was pretty productive.

So historically how is a five shot lead going into the final round?

Below is a chart that shows how players that led by 5 or better have done in U.S. Open history:

  • 3rd round leader                          led by                      result
  • Martin Kaymer in 2014                  leads by 5                ???
  • Laurie Auchterlonie in 1902           led by 5                    shot final round 77 and won by 6
  • Mike Brady in 1919                        led by 5                    shot final round 80 and lost to Walter Hagen in a playoff
  • Bobby Jones in 1930                     led by 5                    shot final round 75 and won by 2
  • Fred Herd in 1898                          led by 6                    shot final round 84 and won by 7
  • Willie Anderson in 1903                 led by 6                    shot a final round 82 and beat David Brown in a playoff
  • Johnny Goodman in 1933             led by 6                     shot final round 76 and won by a shot
  • James Barnes in 1921                   led by 7                     shot final round 72 and won by nine
  • Rory McIlroy in 2011                      led by 8                     shot final round 69 and won by 8
  • Tiger Woods in 2000                      led by 10                    shot final round 67 and won by 15

So you can see in U.S. Open history only once has a lead of five or more not won, and that was by Mike Brady.

Frankly the only thing that Kaymer has to fear is Pinehurst itself.  Case in point, in 2005 Retief Goosen went into Sunday with a commanding three shot lead over Olin Browne and Jason Gore.  All three shot in the 80s on Sunday.  Gore an 84 finishing T49th, Browne an 80 finishing T23rd and Goosen an 81 finishing T-11th.  Michael Campbell was just another face in the crowd four shots back shot 69 in the final round and won by two shots over Tiger Woods.  Kaymer is a lot like Retief Goosen so Kaymer will have to think about it, yes 80 is the furthest in his mind but nine years ago Retief Goosen never thought he could shot 80

So is Kaymer the lock of the year?

In a way, just look at his round today.  I bet that he will do the same thing tomorrow.  He is just too smooth and as I said yesterday “meticulous” in the way he plays so don’t expect anything over 73.

So is there an “Arnold Palmer 65” out there for Sunday?

That round in 1960 at Cherry Hills is the most iconic round in U.S. Open history and one of the best in championship golf.  Can someone do that tomorrow?  Probably not, the course is playing too hard, and the first hole isn’t drivable.  It will be interesting to see how Mike Davis and the USGA sets up the course.  If it was me, I would make it easier than today.  I would give players a chance of driving the 3rd green, the 7th green and the 13th green.  Let someone shot 65 on Sunday and let’s see if it’s either Rickie Fowler, Erik Compton, Henrik Stenson or Dustin Johnson.  If they can shoot 65, they could give Kaymer a run for his money and make things very interesting.  But if the USGA is hard-core and sets it up like Saturday, sorry put Kaymer’s name on the trophy tonight.

Would an Erik Compton win be the greatest sports story of the last couple of decades?

You bet, there is not a person around that don’t want to see this double heart recipient win.  He has had a hard life and made the most of it, be great to see him win.  The reality of it he just doesn’t have the fire-power to do it.

So does Fowler have the fire-power?

Yes but again he will have to shot at least another 67, 68 at worst.  I just find it hard to believe that Fowler or Compton can do back to back 67s.

Anybody else?

Of course anything is possible, Michael Campbell won in 2005, Lucas Glover won in 2009, so Erik Compton and Rickie Fowler fit’s this mold.  But can Brandt Snedeker make up seven shots, could Matt Kuchar, Brooks Koepka and Kevin Na make up eight shots, probably not.

Below is a list of the top-13 players on the leader board going to one over which is 9 shots back of Martin Kaymer

Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Of the top-13 on the leaderboard, who is playing the best: for the U.S. Open

Player FedEx St. Jude Lyoness Open Memorial RBC Heritage Nordea Masters Colonial BMW PGA Byron Nelson Volvo China Wells Fargo Open Espana Zurich Classic The Players
Martin Kaymer
(203.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T23
(9)
DNP DNP T12
(38)
T29
(14)
DNP T18
(10.67)
DNP DNP Win
(132)
Henrik Stenson
(164.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 5
(70)
DNP T7
(55)
DNP T5
(23.33)
DNP DNP DNP T34
(16)
Jordan Spieth
(156.33 pts)
DNP DNP T19
(31)
T12
(12.67)
DNP T14
(24)
DNP T37
(8.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T4
(80)
Chris Kirk
(155.33 pts)
DNP DNP T4
(80)
T27
(7.67)
DNP T14
(24)
DNP DNP DNP T30
(6.67)
DNP DNP T13
(37)
Matt Kuchar
(142 pts)
DNP DNP T15
(35)
Win
(44)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T7
(36.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T17
(33)
Justin Rose
(135 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP 25
(25)
DNP DNP 5
(23.33)
DNP T8
(16.67)
T4
(80)
Kevin Na
(112.67 pts)
DNP DNP 2
(100)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T18
(10.67)
DNP DNP T38
(12)
Dustin Johnson
(90.67 pts)
T24
(26)
DNP T46
(4)
DNP DNP T14
(24)
DNP T7
(36.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T59
(0)
Brooks Koepka
(24 pts)
T19
(31)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T21
(9.67)
DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

Of the top-13 on the leaderboard, who isn’t playing well: for the U.S. Open

Player FedEx St. Jude Lyoness Open Memorial RBC Heritage Nordea Masters Colonial BMW PGA Byron Nelson Volvo China Wells Fargo Open Espana Zurich Classic The Players
Brandt Snedeker
(-1.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T74
(0)
DNP T45
(3.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T48
(2)
Rickie Fowler
(21 pts)
T13
(37)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T38
(4)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T77
(0)
Erik Compton
(22.67 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
T68
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T5
(23.33)
T34
(16)
Brooks Koepka
(24 pts)
T19
(31)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T21
(9.67)
DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

In Conclusion:

Just heard Brandle Chamblee on the Golf Channel say this would be a great tournament if Martin Kaymer weren’t in the field.  How true that is, but Kaymer has played great golf.  Each week we see a player or two that have played a great 54 holes of golf but the fun of the game is they have to close it out over 72 holes.  Tomorrow is like a baseball game that goes into the ninth inning with a team up by five, chances on them losing is very slim but it’s happen.   Here’s a stat to think about.  Since the last time the Open was played at Pinehurst only two that have held either the third round lead or a share of it have won, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy.  The other seven have been players from the back of the pack.  In reality, McIlroy had an eight shot lead and Tiger was Tiger but you have to think about this.

I can’t see Martin Kaymer not doing what he needs to do on Sunday.  The course is tough, and there are a dozen holes in which Kaymer could make doubles on, but the reality is that if your seven or eight behind a player you want them on a course like TPC Sawgrass that has holes in which high scores come into play.  But at the same time just remember the bogey train that Retief Goosen got himself into in 2005.  But don’t expect that to happen, Kaymer is that good and will turn this into a snooze over the last hour.

I leave you with the thought of the day.  In the history of the U.S. Open only 7 champions have led by themselves in the first, second and third rounds; Rory McIlroy in 2011, Tiger Woods in 2002, Tiger Woods in 2000, Tony Jacklin in 1970, Ben Hogan in 1953, James Barnes in 1921and Walter Hagen in 1914.  Martin Kaymer can join this list.  But how about in the same year winning the Players Championship, what many call the “fifth” major also wire to wire to wire with no ties.  Be quite an accomplishment.

 

Who to watch for at the U.S. Open

The only true bet:

Martin Kaymer

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T59 T15 T39 T8 CUT T53

I can’t see him not only beating himself or anyone playing good enough to catch him. He will do the deed the number will be when he has wrapped it up. Will he increase his lead and go into the back nine with a bigger lead, or will someone chip away at that lead and make things tough. At the Players he built up a big lead and with the rain delay lost most of the lead. He was forced into making a five footer on the 72nd hole for the one shot lead. Could that happen again on Sunday?  Sorry no way, he wraps it up by the 16th hole

Who can catch him:

Rickie Fowler

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T10 T41 CUT CUT T60

Young kid that will go out and let it all hang out, he probably needs at least a 65 will the course allow that?

Dustin Johnson

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
55 CUT T23 T8 T40 T48

Has the fire-power, but he needs to go low. One thing he has played as consistent as Kaymer with 69-69-70 so he may have a low number in him.

Henrik Stenson

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T21 T23 T29 9 CUT CUT T26

He probably hates making bogey on 18 on Saturday, because of that and Kaymer’s birdie it meant going from four behind to six behind. He will have to go low

Matt Kuchar

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T28 T27 T14 T6 CUT T48 CUT CUT CUT

Again remember RBC Heritage, he did make up six shots so maybe eight is something that can be done

Story everyone would like to see:

Erik Compton

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
CUT

How great would it be for him to shot 64 and win by one? It would be a great story and would garnish big ratings as people flock to watch it. Is it possible, anything is possible but I don’t see it happening. Guess we can just dream about it.

Speak Your Mind