As conditions worsed throughout the day low scores were harder to come by
February 23, 2018 by Jacob Wilkins in Analysis with 0 comments
As expected, the wind howled during the last few holes of the last few Open Women’s groups and for a majority of the groups in the Open division during round one at the Las Vegas Challenge. While that led to some unpredictable outcomes, one thing that held true was that an earlier tee time in the Open division led to better scoring opportunities and the data shows it.
Sure, there were a couple exceptions, like Nikko Locastro, who shot a 7-under par 51 despite a 1:20 p.m. tee time. However, for the most part, the earlier the tee time, the more opportunities there were to shoot under par.1
The statistic used for this analysis was the Under Par Percentage. The under-par percentage accounts for holes where birdies, eagles, or aces are carded, divided by the total number of holes played. For example, Ricky Wysocki recorded two birdies and two eagles yesterday. This leads to an under par percentage of 22.2% (4 divided by 18 holes).
The best way to look at this is first by groupings. In this analysis, group 1 is defined as the first Open card to tee off at 8:08 a.m. Group 1 recorded 15 holes under par out of 72 total holes (18 holes per player). If we accumulate those numbers for the remainder of the Open field, you end up with a total number 647 under par holes out of the 2,952 total holes, yielding an under par percentage of 21.9% for the entire field.
What gets interesting is that the maximum under par percentage for the accumulated field is 26% after group 4. A secondary maximum occurs at 24.4% after group 11. However, a steady decrease is noted after group 11 to a minimum of 21.7% after group 40, before the 41st, and last, group of the day brought the under par percentage back up to 21.9%.
During the steady decrease of under par percentage, the wind speeds generally increased.2 The sustained wind speed during card 11’s tee time at 9:28 a.m. was 13 mph. This generally increased to a maximum sustained wind speed of 26 mph during card 34’s tee time at 12:32 p.m. Thus, as sustained wind speed increased, the overall under par percentage for the entire Open field decreased, despite the general trend that higher rated players had tee times that were later in the day.
Although wind speeds aren’t expected to be quite as dramatic today, it will be interesting to see if the same relationship between under par percentage and wind speed can be seen during round two.
Data for the Open Women’s division was excluded from the proceeding analysis due to the calmer wind conditions experienced during their round. ↩