3 Key Stats To Win The 149th Open Championship

Justin Thomas tees off on the 1st hole during a practice round for The 149th Open at Royal St George’s Golf Club on July 13, 2021 in Sandwich, England. (Photo by Warren Little R&A via Getty Images )

The Open Championship finally returns to the big stage with the 149th edition at Royal St. George’s in Sandwich, Kent, England.

The course first hosted The Open in 1894, becoming the first venue outside of Scotland.

Royal St. George’s will play host to the oldest major for the 15th time, with the most recent coming in 2011 when Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke finished three strokes ahead of Dustin Johnson to claim the Claret Jug – his first and only major title.

We’ve come up with three metrics that may key a win at Royal St. George’s, along with the top-10 Tour players in each statistical category.

Strokes Gained: Approach

Collin Morikawa 149th Open Championship St George's
Collin Morikawa walks off the 7th green during a practice round ahead of The 149th Open at Royal St George’s Golf Club on July 13, 2021 in Sandwich, England. (Photo by Oisin Keniry via Getty Images)

At 7,204 yards, Royal St. George’s is by far the shortest course of the major tracks in 2021. Owning deep, penal greenside bunkers, approach shots that go wayward could result in big numbers. Gaining strokes on approaches should be an important factor.

Leaders: Strokes Gained: Approach
1. Collin Morikawa (1.502)
2. Paul Casey (.907)
3. Russell Henley (.901)
4. Keegan Bradley (.863)
5. Justin Thomas (.853)
6. Will Zalatoris (.793)
7. Jon Rahm (.762)
8. Corey Conners (.742)
9. Matthew NeSmith (.740)
10. Brooks Koepka (.738)
(average strokes gained per round)


Strokes Gained: Tee to Green

Brooks Koepka tees off during a practice round for The 149th Open at Royal St George’s Golf Club on July 13, 2021 in Sandwich, England. (Photo by Warren Little R&A via Getty Images )

While distance won’t be as paramount this week, accuracy will be important: both off tee and to the green. A player’s ability to carry fairway bunkers and or keep the ball between them (in the middle of the fairway), as well as hitting greens on approach, will be crucial as hits off the mark could wreck a round real quick as the rough is extremely penal. Those that miss greens must also be able to save pars from around the green, hence the all-encompassing tee to green metric.

Leaders: Strokes Gained: Tee to Green
1. Collin Morikawa (2.044)
2. Jon Rahm (1.825)
3. Brooks Koepka (1.528)
4. Patrick Cantlay (1.505)
5. Justin Thomas (1.469)
6. Keegan Bradley (1.459)
7. Paul Casey (1.457)
8. Bryson DeChambeau (1.427)
9. Viktor Hovland (1.355)
10. Tony Finau (1.294)
(average strokes gained per round)


Par-4 Birdie or Better

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth 149th Open Championship St George's
Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth on the 1st hole during a practice round for The 149th Open at Royal St George’s Golf Club on July 13, 2021 in Sandwich, England. (Photo by Warren Little R&A via Getty Images )

The depth of this course lies in its eleven (11) par-4s, six of which are in 440-500 yards range. There are only two par-5s so the key to go one up on the field is scoring on the par-4 holes.

Leaders: Par-4 Birdie or Better
1. Sam Burns (21.00%)
2. Scottie Scheffler (20.68%)
3. Justin Thomas (20.42%)
4. Brooks Koepka (20.24%)
5. Abraham Ancer (20.12%)
6. Patton Kizzire (20.00%)
7. Dustin Johnson (19.75%)
7. Viktor Hovland (19.75%)
9. Rory Sabbatini (19.69%)
10. Collin Morikawa (19.52%)
(percentage of birdies per par-4 holes)


Clearly, Collin Morikawa is the top pick given these three metrics. He’s No. 1 in the first two categories, and 10th in the third. Could he win a second major in just his eighth career major start? Others to consider: Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, and Jon Rahm.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here