6 May 2019    Golf      by 0 0 Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

Is A Player Likely to Win After Holding the 54-Hole Lead?

All modern day golf tournaments are played over 4 days, and for a reason. A 4 day long tournament or 72-hole tournament, is proven to provide the ideal balance between allowing the best player to come out on top, and stimulating enough interest amongst players and fans to keep them interested in the game week in week out.

The reality being that a player cannot win a tournament on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday, but they can play their way out of the tournament on any of these days. All a player can do is play everyday like it’s a Sunday and put themselves in the best position possible to be in contention come Sunday. Is a player likely to go on to win after holding the 54-hole lead of a tournament?

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We took a look at the ability of some of the best golfers in the game to close out a tournament victory from leading after 54-holes.

Looking at those who held the lead after 54-holes on both the PGA Tour and European Tour from 2000 onwards, only 39.4% have gone on to claim the victory. The number is a little higher in WGC and Majors, when 41.8% of 54-hole leaders have converted the win.

Golf is a game of margins, so what does it take to close up and rise to the top of the pile? Building the 54-hole lead is an achievement in itself, many golfers have never led after 54-holes, so to be at the top after 3 days it means you are a great golfer, to do it more than once, means you’re a world class golfer.

Holding the 54-hole lead more than 15 times means you are up there with the very best in the game. Only 17 golfers have held the lead more than 15 times after 54-holes… but how well have they closed it out?

You won’t be surprised to hear that Tiger Woods tops the list, as he does with most golfing accomplishments. Tiger converts a 54-hole lead 87% of the time! This is not only outstanding because of the percentage, but more so because he has held the lead 40 times after 54 holes. Phil Mickleson comes in second behind Tiger with a total of 28 leads and a 57% conversion rate.

Regarding the rest of the great golfers who have achieved over 15 54-hole leads in their time, you can see that they don’t always get the job done. Looking at the top 5 you can see some names that will be familiar.

  1. Tiger Woods 87%
  2. Ernie Els 76%
  3. Vijay Singh 68%
  4. Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth 59%
  5. Phil Mickleson 57%

Tiger and Els are top of the pile with exceptional conversion rates. This shows they have the skills to position themselves at the top of the leaderboard over the first 3 days and can get the job done on Sundays. This is what makes them golfing greats. All 17 of the players who have held the lead more than 15 times have the first skill perfected, however their closing % varies from 26% to Tiger’s 87%. This indicates that developing the second part of the victory is a skill most have not quite nailed down as successfully as Tiger and Ernie.

Shot Scope V2 is a GPS and Performance Tracking golf watch which provides the user with access to over 100 statistics on their game. Find out more about Shot Scope V2 here >

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