2023 Masters Picks: Expert Analyzes Strokes Gained Data

2023 Masters Picks: Expert Analyzes Strokes Gained Data article feature image

Pictured: Jon Rahm. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

I think we can all agree Sunday at the Masters is one of the best golf days of the year, especially when the final round lands on Easter Sunday. This will be the 18th time that has been the case since 1940, making it a festive final round. Of course, the third round needs to conclude before the sprint to the finish can truly start.

Unfortunately, the weather has ravaged the past 48 hours, generating a wet and wild two days at Augusta.

We will see if Augusta National can hold on long enough to finish the event on Sunday afternoon, but the current runaway from Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm has turned this into a two-man race. If you have a bet on either one of them, you are feeling solid about your position. However, if you are like me, some of the luster has been removed from the tournament from an outright perspective.

If you haven't already, you can find me on Twitter @TeeOffSports. There, I will provide a link to my pre-tournament model, a powerful and interactive data spreadsheet that allows user inputs to create custom golf rankings. That sheet is released every Monday, so be sure to check it out and construct your own numbers from my database of information.

Masters Leaderboard

I tend to think the best chance for anyone not named Koepka or Rahm will come if the weather continues to wreak havoc. We saw Patrick Cantlay and Matthew Fitzpatrick make a push while the leaders stood still, and anyone with bigger aspirations will likely need more of that Sunday if they want a legitimate chance to capture the title.

Strokes Gained Off-The-Tee Leaders

It is worth noting that players are at different stages of their rounds, making strokes gained data a little wonkier than I would care to see. That return has generated a mixed bag of expectations.

Strokes Gained Approach

If Scottie Scheffler had delivered even remotely with his putter, this would have been a vastly different event. It is hard to land second both off-the-tee and in approach (also inside the top 15 for around-the-green) and still sit outside the top 10 on the leaderboard. Don't be shocked if the American catches fire Sunday and works his way up the leaderboard.

Strokes Gained Around-The-Green

Outside of Zach Johnson, everyone on the list above landed inside the top 30 of the leaderboard. None of that is a surprise as we discussed the importance of salvaging a score all week.

Strokes Gained Putting

I still believe Phil Mickelson remains an intriguing fade candidate over the next 27 holes. The pre-tournament numbers had him outside the top 65 of my model, and his game has been massively propelled by a flat stick that could cool off at any moment.

Players To Gain OTT, Approach and ATG Over 2.5 Rounds

I always find those three areas to be most reliable in what I project to continue. A putter can come and go, but the pertinent details should shine through. We saw an initial push from Cantlay on Saturday morning and should see a few more of these golfers with similar moves.

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