Stats & Info: Zach Johnson

Stats to know: 18 holes left at The Open

July, 20, 2013
Andrew Redington/Getty Images
Victory is in sight for both Tiger Woods and Lee Westwood.

Ten of the last 11 Open winners in The Open Championships held at Muirfield were either first or second after 54 holes.

With that in mind, let’s look at the first and second place golfers heading into Sunday’s final round.

Lee Westwood
This is Lee Westwood’s second career 54-hole lead in a major. The other came at the 2010 Masters, when he held a one-shot lead over eventual champion Phil Mickelson. Westwood finished second.

Nobody has more top-3 finishes in majors in golf’s modern era (since 1934) without a win than Lee Westwood’s seven. If Westwood won, it would mark the first time that Englishmen won consecutive majors since 1909.

Westwood has played the font nine in -5 this week, the best of any golfer in the field. His 26 one-putts are the most of anyone at the Open.

Westwood hit 11 of 18 greens in regulation, but his putter saved him at least two strokes when he made a long eagle putt from just off the green on Par-5 5th hole and when he hit a long putt on the Par-3 16th for a bogey.

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods enters the final round tied for second. This is his best 54-hole position in a major since the 2009 PGA, when he failed to convert with a share of the 54-hole lead in a major for the only time in his career.

Woods has never won a major without at least a share of the 54-hole lead. He’s trying for his fourth Open title. The only Ameicans with four or more are Tom Watson (5) and Walter Hagen (4).

Woods has fared better on the Par 4s and 5s in this tournament when teeing off with an iron. He’s -4 on those holes in which he’s used an iron, +2 when teeing off with a driver or wood.

Hunter Mahan
Hunter Mahan is tied for second entering the final round of the second straight major.

Mahan began the third round tied for 20th. Only three players have ever won the Open when 20th or worse through 36 holes- Gary Player (tied for 20th in 1959), Ian Baker-Finch (tied for 28th in 1991) and David Duval (tied for 35th in 2001).

Mahan has 13 birdies, tied for the most of anyone in the field.
Mahan is seeking his first major title. His best major finish was tied for fourth at this year’s U.S. Open.

Other notable contenders
Adam Scott is three shots back of the lead. He's trying to become the first golfer to win the Masters and Open Championship since Woods in 2005. He finished second last year, blowing the four-shot lead he had entering the final round.

Zach Johnson is among a group that is four shots back of the lead, but he doesn't have a good final-round history. His last eight final rounds in majors have been par or worse.

Angel Cabrera is also four shots back. He's trying to become the second Argentine golfer to win the Open, joining Roberto De Vicenzo (1967).

Cabrera's best finish at the Open was a tie for fourth in 1999.

Stuart Franklin/Getty Images
Adam Scott is the leader after the first round of the 141st Open Championship.
The 141st edition of the Open Championship teed off on Thursday morning and the first-round leader, Adam Scott, took advantage of favorable conditions.

The former No. 3 in the world used eight birdies to post a 6-under 64 in the opening round, his lowest career round in a major. The 64 also tied the record for lowest round in an Open at Royal Lytham (Tom Lehman, 1996) and gave him his first career lead after any round in any major.

There's a long way to go, but should he hang on, Scott would continue the recent trend of golf major parity. Since Padraig Harrington won the 2008 PGA Championship, there have been 15 different winners in the past 15 majors (Scott would be the 16th) and the past nine have been first-time winners (Scott would be the 10th).

Elsewhere on the course, Tiger Woods birdied three of his first six holes and hit 13 of 14 fairways en route to posting a 3-under 67. In the previous 10 instances that Woods shot a 67 or better in the first round of a major, he went on to win six times with two more top-3 finishes.

Paul Lawrie, Zach Johnson and Nicolas Colsaerts finished the day tied for second, one shot back of the lead. Lawrie, the 1999 Open champion, tied his lowest career score at a major and Johnson, the 2007 Masters champion, broke par in the first round at the Open for the first time in his career.

The winner of last week’s John Deere Classic, Johnson is looking to become the first player since Lee Trevino in 1971 to win the Open after winning the previous week on TOUR.

Colsaerts posted the lowest round of his major career Thursday and is hoping to bounce back from his late struggles at the U.S. Open. He was tied for fourth at Olympic heading into the final round but finished tied for 27th after shooting a 6-over 76 on Sunday.

Looking ahead to Friday, Tiger Woods tees off at 9:43 AM ET and hopes to build on his play in the first round. Unfortunately for him, first-round success has not carried over so far this year. In 2012, he is -4 in the first round of majors but +13 in the final three rounds including a +8 during the weekend at the U.S. Open.

An hour earlier, clubhouse leader Adam Scott tees off at 8:43 AM ET. While Scott played well in the first round, history is not on his side moving forward. Only five first-round leaders have gone on to win the Open since 1975, most recently Tiger Woods in 2005.

Seve Ballesteros was the last player to accomplish the feat at Royal Lytham when he won his final major at the Open in 1988.
ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty ImagesPeter Hanson finds himself in an usual position heading into the final round of the Masters, leading a major after 54 holes for the first time.
Moving day at the Masters saw plenty of shuffling on the leaderboard, as the best rounds were shot by those outside the final three pairings.

Seven players entered the third round within one stroke of the lead. Of that group, only two golfers broke par on Saturday. Louis Oosthuizen and Bubba Watson shot 3-under par and will be paired together in the second to last group on Sunday.

The eventual Masters champion has come out of the final Sunday pairing 19 out of the last 21 years, but both exceptions came in the last five events. Last year’s champion Charl Schwartzel was tied for second but played in the penultimate group, and Zach Johnson was tied for fourth in 2007.

Only one Masters champion has come from outside the top-10 on the leaderboard after 54 holes. Art Wall Jr. was six strokes back and tied for 13th heading into the final round before winning the title in 1959.

This year’s PGA TOUR has seen several large comebacks on Sunday. Four different golfers have come from at least six shots down in the final round to win a title.

The last 13 majors have been won by 13 different players. Also in that span, the last seven and 10 of the last 11 champions have been first-time major winners. Phil Mickelson at the 2010 Masters was the only exception.

Sunday’s final pairing
The final pairing on Sunday will be Peter Hanson and Mickelson.

Before finishing with the third-round lead, Hanson had never been within five shots of the lead entering the final round of a major. In the first three rounds, he leads the field with 18 birdies.

Hanson recorded the ninth score of 65 of better in the Masters third round over the last 40 years. Only two of the previous eight instances led to a title. Tiger Woods won at Augusta in 1997 and 2005 after shooting seven-under in the third round.

After shooting nine straight pars to start the round, Mickelson was six-under on the back nine. His 66 on Saturday was his first career round of six-under or better on the weekend in a major.

With a win, Mickelson can match Woods and Arnold Palmer with his fourth green jacket. Only Jack Nicklaus, with six, would have more.

Mickelson and Woods have been identical statistically this week, with one major exception. Woods has needed 10 more putts to complete his rounds.

Chip shots
Louis Oosthuizen: looking to become the sixth player to win the Masters and Open Championship at St. Andrew’s

Matt Kuchar: within five shots of the lead entering the final round of a major for the first time

Sergio Garcia: after shooting a 75 on Saturday, hasn’t broken par in the third round of the Masters since 2002

Rory McIlroy: his 77 on Saturday was the third time in 13 career rounds at the Masters that he shot five-over or worse

Tiger Woods: failed to birdie a par-5 the last two rounds after only failing to birdie twice in his first 61 rounds at the Masters as a professional

Tiger traditionally starts slow at Masters

April, 4, 2012

AP Photo/Rob CarrTiger Woods is the favorite to win his fifth green jacket at Augusta.

Not only is Tiger Woods coming off his first PGA TOUR win since 2009, but he also comes into the Masters hoping to pick up where he left off at last year’s event.

In 2011, Woods shot a career-best Sunday round of 67 at the Masters. He played the first nine in 31, tying his career-best score on the first nine at Augusta.

Historically, Woods’ worst round at the Masters has been the first, where his average has been 72.1. (Also, the first hole is Woods' worst at Augusta, +16. He’s birdied it only four times as a pro, with 18 bogeys and one double bogey.) His second-round average is 70.4; 69.8 in the third; 70.6 in the fourth.

Only once since 2001 has Woods posted a score in the 60s in the first round (68 in 2010).

Despite being a slow starter, Woods has made the cut every year since 1997, which is the longest active streak at the Masters (see chart).

Woods has never led the Masters wire-to-wire. In fact, no one has pulled that off since Raymond Floyd in 1976. When Woods won his most recent Masters in 2005, he was tied for 33rd after 18 holes.

Woods ended his winless streak two weeks ago, now he will try to end his drought at majors. Since winning the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, 14 majors have been played without a Woods victory, although he did not play in four of those events.

If Woods wins, he would be the 14th different winners in the last 14 majors. South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel is the defending champion, and will attempt to join Woods on a short list of players who have won this event in back-to-back years: Jack Nicklaus (1965-66), Nick Faldo (1989-90) and Woods (2001-02).
Charl Schwartzel

Schwartzel tees off at 2:24 ET on Thursday. However, there are two prominent South Africans not in the field, Ernie Els and Retief Goosen. Els’ streak of consecutive Masters appearances has come to an end at 18. Goosen also did not qualify, and will miss the Masters for the first time since 1999.

The first round tees off early on Thursday; however, recent history has said the winner will most likely come from the final group on Sunday.

Since 1991, only two Masters Tournament champions were not in Sunday’s final group: Zach Johnson in 2007 was in the third-to-last group, and Schwartzel was in the second-to-last group last season.