Putting key to contending in Masters

dIt is well documented that Augusta National requires an extremely adept touch around and on the undulating greens in order to be in contention in the Masters come Sunday afternoon.

Charl Schwartzel was the first player ever to birdie the last four holes at Augusta National. It was a feat made even more impressive by the fact that it came in the final round of the tournament in 2011. It was enough to see him close the gap on Rory McIlroy and claim the biggest win of his already illustrious career.

After his dramatic win he said, “I felt good over every single putt. I think I just had so much confidence in my putting.”

Schwartzel is in the field again this year alongside four other South Africans, including Louis Oosthuizen, Branden Grace, Ernie Els and Trevor Immelman, and if they want to successfully navigate through ‘Amen Corner’ and beyond, their putting performances need to be out of the top drawer.

2016 putting statistics point out that our five golfers need to considerably up their game on the greens.

In the ‘strokes gained’ category, Schwartzel leads the pack of South Africans, lying in 55th position on the PGA Tour. The other four lie outside the top 100.

In the ‘overall putting average’ category, Els surprisingly leads the pack, ranking 37th on the PGA Tour, with the other four again outside the top 100.

One of the most important statistics at Augusta National, as said in a previous article, is the three-10-foot range of putts. In this category, all five of our golfers rank outside the top 120 on the PGA Tour.

The statistics pointed out look to be of concern. However, three of the five players have already won this year. The reason for this is their quality from tee to green. It is almost without question that our group of South Africans will be at the summit of the ‘tee to green’ statistics.

It is also important to realize that while Els is the highest placed of the group in the ‘inside 10 feet’ category, he still makes 87.61% of those putts. Oosthuizen is the lowest placed in the category, making 86.56% of those putts.

It is not something extra-special that is required on the greens then, but just one or two more putts each round that will make all the difference come Sunday. Just as Schwartzel did five years ago.

 

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