With all the media attention squarely focused on former Navy Officer Billy Hurley III, the 54 hole leader at the Greenbrier Classic in White Sulphur Springs, WV. It doesn’t appear to be a done deal for a victory when a tour player has the 54 hole lead.
The 54 hole leaders are 9-for-10 so far this season on the PGA Tour, with a mere 44.8% percent win rate (26 of 58) since the beginning of the 2013 season.
It’s not only “rank and file” tour players blowing these leads either. Names like Rory McIlroy, Bubba Watson and Adam Scott, all have blown 54 hole leads this season. That’s a combined five major championships between these three players.
It seems no one this season is exempt from these 54 hole lead struggles.
54 hole leaders have posted an average final round score of 71.90. That’s nearly three-tenths of a stroke worse than the average score (71.62) of the field in those same final rounds.
Meaning the players that have played better than anyone else through the first three rounds of these events are not even posting scores better than the overall tournament average in the final rounds.
Most recently we saw Matt Kuchar blow a four stroke lead at the Shell Houston Open where he carded a final round score, 72 to ultimately lose in a playoff to Matt Jones.
This trend is apparently not exclusive to the PGA Tour.
The Alstrom Open de France 54 hole leader Kevin Stadler had a chance to force a playoff with 2013 Champion Graeme McDowell, missing a bogey putt on the 18th hole to hand the tournament to McDowell.
Stadler was not only the 54 hole leader by four strokes, he has been the leader since round one on Thursday, closing with a 5-over, 76.
It’s not only players that have small margins of leads heading into Sunday final rounds. Even players playing with a big lead doesn’t seem to be as easy as you would believe. It can often leave a player uncertain on what strategy to employ in their final round and even with their swing.
With all the players that have blown the 54 hole leads this season, all eyes will certainly be on Hurley this Sunday. Not only to see if yet another player will fall victim to this all too recent trend in 54 hole leaders — Also to see if he can cash in for that elusive first victory on the PGA Tour.