10 Notes to Know: February 15, 2021

February 15, 2021
Justin Ray
  1. Daniel Berger holed a 30-foot eagle putt on the 72nd hole to win the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am by two strokes over Maverick McNealy. It’s the 4th career PGA Tour victory for Berger, and his second since competition resumed last June after the coronavirus hiatus. Berger made 4 eagles on the week, the most by any winner at the Pro-Am in the last 40 years. He became just the fourth player since 2010 to make 4 or more eagles en route to any tournament victory on the PGA Tour.
  1. The small greens at Pebble Beach demanded elite play around the green this week from the winner. Berger, who entered the week ranked 85th on the PGA Tour this season in scrambling, led the tournament at 88%. At the 2019 U.S. Open, champion Gary Woodland put together a similar performance. Woodland entered that week ranked 169th in scrambling for the season, but led the field (80%) in his first major championship win.
  1. For the second week in a row, a former Florida State player won on the PGA Tour. Seven days prior, Berger’s old college teammate Brooks Koepka won the Waste Management Phoenix Open in Arizona. The last time former college teammates won in back-to-back weeks on the PGA Tour? It was in the summer of 2017 – when Berger won the FedEx St. Jude, then Koepka won the U.S. Open at Erin Hills.
  1. The pair of former Florida State Seminoles pulled off an unprecedented back-to-back, as well. For the second week in a row, a tournament winner on the PGA Tour made multiple eagles in the final round. That is the first time that has happened in back-to-back weeks since hole-by-hole tracking began on Tour about 40 years ago.
  1. Berger currently has an active streak of 26 consecutive rounds of par or better on the PGA Tour. Last season, Berger put together a streak of 32 such rounds in a row. Berger is one of three players to have a streak that long in back-to-back PGA Tour seasons, since 2000 – Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson each did it in 2000 and 2001.
  1. For the second week in a row, Jordan Spieth was in contention on Sunday. But for the second week in a row, Spieth held at least a share of the 54-hole lead and did not come away with the victory. Spieth is the first player in eight years to hold the 54-hole lead or co-lead in consecutive weeks and not win either tournament; Daniel Summerhays did it in 2013 at the John Deere Classic and Sanderson Farms Championship.
  1. Spieth can take away many positives though over the last two weeks – his back-to-back top-five finishes mark the first time he has achieved that feat since the spring of 2018 (Houston Open, Masters). His iron play has been significantly better, too – at Phoenix and Pebble, Spieth hit a combined 75.7% of his greens in regulation and averaged +1.70 strokes gained approach per round. Entering that stretch, those averages were 59.4% and -0.60 per round.
  1. Maverick McNealy played his last 8 holes in 5-under to post -16, but had his dreams of victory dashed by Berger’s eagle at 18. The runner-up finish is the best for McNealy on the PGA Tour in 50 career starts. McNealy had an exemplary week through the bag, ranking in the top-5 in the field in strokes gained tee-to-green, fairways hit, greens in regulation and strokes gained around the green.
  1. Patrick Cantlay finished tied for third, his second top-3 finish in a row and 6th top-20 in a row going back to last fall. Cantlay may have won the tournament if not for a 2nd round 73 at Spyglass Hill – Cantlay led the field in strokes gained tee-to-green and strokes gained total in his three rounds at Pebble Beach Golf Links. Now 8th in the World Ranking, Cantlay hit 47 of 54 greens in regulation for the week at Pebble.
  1. The PGA Tour moves to historic Riviera Country Club next week for the Genesis Invitational. An elite field is headlined by world number one Dustin Johnson, who won the event in 2017. Over the last five years, Johnson is a combined 48-under-par at Riviera, 8 shots better than any other player in that span. Johnson won his previous start, the European Tour’s Saudi International.