100th USPGA Championship: Statistical Preview & Prediction

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156 of the worlds best descend on Bellerive Country Club for the 100th staging of the USPGA Championship. The centenary edition happens to be last August edition of the championship, as from 2019, the USPGA will be moved to May. The St Louis, Missouri par 70 measures out at 7,547 yards, which makes it the longest par adjusted course of the PGA Tour season. Deep rough and penal bunkers line Bellerive’s lush fairways. Bellerive possesses large and drastically undulating bentgrass greens, which are likely to be slower and softer than usual as rain has pounded the golf course early in the week.

The long course and soft conditions lend itself to favouring the long hitters. However, the penal rough and cavernous fairway bunkers mean that accuracy will also be at a premium. The aggregated top-10 in driving distance, strokes gained off the tee, and fairways gained over the last 50 rounds are:

1.       Gary Woodland

2.       Tommy Fleetwood

3.       Billy Horschel

4.       Francesco Molinari

5.       Kyle Stanley

6.       Joaquin Niemann

7.       Justin Rose

8.       Keegan Bradley

9.       Patrick Cantlay

10.      J.J. Spaun

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As is the case with all par 70s, par-4 scoring is unbelievably essential. Six of these par-4s are over 450 yards and the 4th and 10th measuring a ridiculous 521 and 508 yards respectively. The aggregated top-10 for par four scoring 450-500, 500+ yards, and strokes gained par-4 are:

1.       Dustin Johnson

2.       Justin Thomas

3.       Justin Rose

4.       Rickie Fowler

5.       Rory McIlroy

6.       Jordan Spieth

7.       Jon Rahm

8.       Brooks Koepka

9.       Bryson DeChambeau

10.      Kyle Stanley

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Approach shots are always the most predictive measure of performance regardless of the golf course, and Bellerive will almost certainly follow the same trend. The big greens at Bellerive will make proximity more critical than the average week. The aggregated top-10 in strokes gained approach and proximity are:

1.       Keegan Bradley

2.       Justin Thomas

3.       Scott Piercy

4.       Chesson Hadley

5.       Tiger Woods

6.       Joaquin Niemann

7.       Dustin Johnson

8.       J.J. Spaun

9.       Justin Rose

10.   Henrik Stenson

Predictions:

J.J. Spaun

An incredibly volatile, but prodigiously talented golfer. Spaun ranks in the top-10 for both our approach and off the tee aggregated statistics. The American has a second and third-place finish on the PGA Tour this year and has gained strokes on the field in seven of his last eight events. Spaun is historically an atrocious putter, but the slower greens at Bellerive will go some of the ways to negate this flaw.

Russell Henley

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The American has gained an average of 5.5 strokes on the field in his last five events. Over the previous 12 rounds, Henley ranks inside the top-20 in this field for strokes gained approach, proximity, and strokes gained tee-to-green.

Tony Finau

Finau is one of the longest and most proficient drivers of the ball on tour. The soggy conditions this week will play into his skill set nicely. Over the last 50 rounds, Finau is ninth in bogey avoidance and one of the best players from the rough on tour.

 

 

Nicholas Richardson