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Best of 2018 on the PGA TOUR

Tuesday, December 18, 2018


With a holiday break in the golf action, now is a good time to look back at the year in golf. 

Sticking to a stat-heavy approach, let's have a look at some Top 10 lists to see who recorded the best rounds of 2018, find out who performed best on particular putting surfaces, or performed best in certain parts of the country. 


Best Opening Round of 2018


Brandt Snedeker's round of 59 at the Wyndham Championship which beat the field by 9.712 strokes and gave him a commanding four-shot lead. 

Notables:
-Henrik Stenson's 64 in R1 of the API, beat the field by 8.200 strokes. 
-Patrick Reed's 64 in R1 of the HSBC Champions, beat the field by 8.286 strokes. 
-Marc Leishman's 61 in R1 of the Byron Nelson, beat the field by 8.564 strokes. 
-Jordan Spieth's 66 in R1 of the Masters, beat the field by 7.793 strokes. 
-Webb Simpson's 61 in R1 of the Greenbrier, beat the field by 8.340 strokes. 
-Kevin Na's 62 in R1 of the Fort Worth Invitational, beat the field by 7.760 strokes. 
-Joaquin Niemann, Hideki Matsuyama, and Abraham Ancer's rounds of 65 at the Memorial, beat the field by 7.558 strokes. 
-John Peterson's 65 in R1 of the Wells Fargo, beat the field by 7.833 strokes. 

Tony Finau didn't have any Top 10 performances in R1 but he had the most rounds in the Top 100 opening-round performances. Might be worth watching him the FRL markets next year. Five of his opening rounds ended in the Top 100. The next closest was Webb Simpson, Xander Schauffele, and Kyle Stanley who all had three rounds each in the Top 100.  


Best Overall Round of 2018

Tommy Fleetwood's closing round of 63 at the U.S. Open, +9.179 strokes over the field. It nearly won him the tournament, falling one shy of Brooks Koepka

Notables: 
-Tony Finau and Daniel Berger's R3 66s at the U.S. Open. These rounds would be the best on paper at +9.328 strokes better than a strong field but they were also aided by the morning vs afternoon scoring splits. 
-Brandt Snedeker's opening 59 at the Wyndham, +9.712 strokes over the field. 
-Ricky Barnes's 61 in R2 of the Safeway Open, +9.611 strokes over the field. 
-Rory McIlroy's 64 in R4 of the API, +8.455 strokes over the field en route to victory. 
-Trey Mullinax's 62 in R3 of the Valero Texas Open, +8.925 strokes over the field. 
-Thomas Pieters' 64 in R2 of the WGC-HSBC Champions, +8.896 strokes over the field. 
-Patrick Reed's 66 in R2 of the Masters, +8.563 strokes over the field. 
-Webb Simpson's 63 in R2 of THE PLAYERS, +8.273 strokes over the field. 
-Charl Schwartzel's 63 in R4 of the WGC-Bridgestone, +8.183 SG over the field. 
-Justin Thomas' 62 in R3 of the WGC-Mexico, +8.281 SG over the field.
-Peter Uihlein's 62 in R3 of the Wells Fargo, +8.368 strokes over the field. 


Total Strokes Gained in 2018


Dustin Johnson

Tony Finau
Justin Thomas
Webb Simpson
Bryson DeChambeau
Justin Rose
Rickie Fowler
Patrick Cantlay
Emiliano Grillo
Tommy Fleetwood

Note: Adjusted to the strength of field each golfer played against. 


Strokes Gained per Round in 2018


Dustin Johnson

Justin Rose
Justin Thomas
Tommy Fleetwood
Tiger Woods
Jason Day
Tony Finau
Rickie Fowler
Bryson DeChambeau
Brooks Koepka

Note: Adjusted to the strength of field each golfer played against. Minimum of 30 rounds played. 



Steady-Round Percentage


This looks at the percentage of rounds that a golfer beat the field by one stroke. 

Justin Rose (71%)
Justin Thomas (70%)
Dustin Johnson (66%)
Jason Day (66%)
Tiger Woods (65%)
Webb Simpson (64%)
Tommy Fleetwood (64%)
Brooks Koepka (62%)
Tony Finau (62%)
Henrik Stenson (62%)

Notes: It's no surprise to see Rosey at the top of this list. He was a top-20 machine this year. Seeing Stenson on the list was somewhat surprising. He had a ho-hum season and was battling elbow injuries for much of the summer. He's not getting any younger but his stats have yet to truly fall off a cliff. The downside? He does only play the minimum of 15 PGA TOUR events per season. 


Go-Low Percentage


This looks at the percentage of rounds that a golfer beat the field by three strokes. These rounds are crucial if you want to rack up wins. 

Dustin Johnson (50%)
Justin Rose (42%)
Rory McIlroy (40%)
Justin Thomas (35%)
Bryson DeChambeau (35%)
Brooks Koepka (33%)
Jon Rahm (33%)
Rickie Fowler (33%)
Jason Day (32%)
Tommy Fleetwood (30%)

Notes: Based on these numbers, you could actually say DJ underperformed when it came to finding the winner's circle last year. At times it also seemed that Rory fell off a cliff in 2018 but on paper he still takes it deep with the best of them. I would expect him to win at least twice in 2019 as he sets his full attention on playing Stateside. 


Time for a coffee break and then we'll look at some split stats... 


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Josh Culp joined Rotoworld in 2014. The DFS enthusiast from Iowa State can be found on Twitter @futureoffantasy.
Email :Josh Culp



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