It took extra holes, but in the end the hometown favorite Nick Taylor closed the deal and won his national open over Tommy Fleetwood. Most impressive is he did this after a tough first round 75 that put him in a tie for 120th!
Read that again... Nick Taylor went from 120th to 1st in three rounds. Definitely a lesson there in not giving up. Despite losing over 4 shots to the field with approach and putting on the first day, Nick put together a solid tournament from a strokes gained perspective gaining strokes in all 4 categories on average using the PAR Golf app.
And that putting performance didn't include the 72 footer he made on the last playoff hole to clinch the tournament. That putt alone would have gained over 1.3 strokes on the field.
It all started with Driving for Taylor where he very rarely put himself in any serious trouble. Looking at the driving dispersion from PAR Golf, he kept almost all of his drives within 20 yards of the center line with only 4 real mistakes on the week that put him in any kind of serious trouble.
Nick averaged gaining 1.1 shots per round with his approach game into the greens. Approach game includes all shots outside 75 yards that are not on the tee. Breaking that down further, Nick really excelled from 125-200 yards. He was around tour average from 200-224 and from 100-124 yards. To not lose strokes from any distance bucket is extremely impressive and definitely a recipe for success.
But where Taylor really excelled was with the flatstick. Nick averaged gaining +1.9 strokes per round on the field and he accomplished that by being rock solid under 6 feet and making almost 40% of his putts between 7 and 20 feet!. That is incredible.
He did have 2 three putts from over 20 feet, but pros three putt just like the rest of us... He easily cancelled out those losses with 4 makes from over 20 feet. Impressive.
If you disable Simple Putt in PAR Golf and enter the distance of your first putt when entering your score, you unlock additional putt details where you can see one, two, and three putt percentages from various distances moving away from the hole. Nick Taylor made 91% of his putts between 4-6 feet and made 63% of his putts between 7-10 feet. He gained strokes on the field from every distance with the flatstick. That makes the game easier.
Nick Taylor played phenomenal golf and when it would have been easy to falter under the weight of expectation, he excelled. What a feeling it must have been to walk around Oakdale and here thousands of your countrymen and women chanting your name.
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