It all comes down to this, Sunday afternoon at the Masters. The green jacket will be bestowed upon a new champion and it’s likely to be someone in the final three pairings.
Let’s take a look at the stats to break down the strengths and weaknesses of each golfer through the first three rounds.
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Henrik Stenson and Tommy Fleetwood:
Stenson has been very solid throughout the tournament, but not exceptional. Of the six final golfers, Stenson has the third-fewest holes over par with just six bogeys. He’s also just one of two with both his fairways-hit and greens-hit percentage greater than 70 (the other being Patrick Reed). But where Stenson has lacked is in finishing under par. Stenson has the fewest combined strokes under (13 birdies, no eagles) of this group.
Fleetwood has been exceptional at getting his ball to the green (his greens-hit percentage of 74.1 is the best of this group), but once there, it’s a different ballgame. Fleetwood has averaged 1.74 putts per green, with two three-putts so far. That puts him at No. 71 in putting this tournament. Only four golfers who made the cut have fared worse on the greens.
Rickie Fowler and Jon Rahm:
Fowler’s play has been pretty similar to Fleetwood so far. He has the second highest greens in regulation (72.2 percent) of this group, and the second-worst putting, with 1.61 putts-per-hole, and three three-putts — the most of the final six.
His 12 birdies and one eagle also put him with the second fewest strokes under par, but that is offset nicely by just five holes over par, all bogeys. All of those bogeys came on Thursday and Friday, as Fowler’s round Saturday was one of the best in the tournament, with five birdies and an eagle.
If Fowler is within a couple strokes of the lead towards the end of his round, expect a great push. Fowler has birdied No. 17 all three rounds this year, and he is 5-under on 15-17 this tournament.
On the flip side, Rahm has been one of the best putters in the entire field. He is the only one of the final six with zero three-putts to his name this year, and has needed just 1.5 putts per hole. That’s convenient, since he is one of just two players in this group who has hit fewer than 70 percent of both his fairways and greens in regulation.
Rahm is also the only one of the six to have gotten better every round. His Thursday 75 is the highest round of this group, but a 68, then 65 have all-but erased that memory. Rahm hasn’t made a bogey since the 7th hole of his second round, and is 11-under since.
Patrick Reed and Rory McIlroy
No one in the tournament has more holes under par this year than Patrick Reed. Through three rounds, Reed has carded 18 birdies (which leads the tournament by two) and two eagles (tied with Rahm as second only to amateur Doug Ghim). But eight bogeys do tarnish that record.
Where Reed has excelled this year is on Par 5s. In three rounds on the four at Augusta National, Reed has only gotten one par. Everything else has been a birdie (9) or eagle (2), leading to a total of 13-under on the four holes so far.
That performance has been fueled by an exceptional accuracy off the tee box. Reed’s fairways-hit percentage of 78.6 is tied for fifth in the field, and is the best of the final six by far.
Reed also owns perhaps the most impressive three-hole stretch thus far in the tournament, when he eagled No. 13, then No. 15 on Saturday.
Masters 2018: Patrick Reed | 15th Hole, Round 3 pic.twitter.com/Jd1Xd3W7l9— Masters Highlights (@MastersMoments) April 7, 2018
Of this group, McIlroy has played the most mistake-free tournament so far. He has just four bogeys, and zero doubles or worse through three rounds, while the average player this tournament has posted 9.5 bogeys and 1.3 doubles or worse. All four of his bogeys came in the first two rounds, and since a bogey on No. 6 Friday, McIlroy is a clean 9-under.
That comes mainly at the end of McIlroy’s putter. He is tied with Reed for fewest putts per hole at 1.46 (second-best in the field), and has just one three-putt, as opposed to Reed’s two.
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