Masters 2022: Rory McIlroy's finish in historical perspective and four other intriguing stats from the final round
Sunday’s final round of the Masters saw Scottie Scheffler hold off a leader board filled with major winners, Rory McIlroy make a charge and the 15th hole play like a true par 5. One final time we offer some facts and figures that interested or outright wowed us. Here’s a look at five stats that stood out from the final round of the year’s first major:
Rory’s fast finish
Rory McIlroy’s final-round 64—thanks to a hole out for birdie from the right-hand bunker at 18—made McIlroy the seventh player to shoot that score in the final round. McIlroy joins Maurice Bembridge (1974), Hale Irwin (1975), Gary Player (1978), Greg Norman (1988), David Toms (1998) and Bo Van Pelt (2012). Although McIlroy finished second, that is not the best finish of the bunch, being bested by Player, who won his third green jacket the year he did it.
Zalatoris’ one-two punch
They say it takes a number of years before a player learns the nuances of Augusta National and how to handle the pressure of the Masters. Try telling that to Will Zalatoris. A year removed from a runner-up showing at the Masters, Willy Z fired a final-round 67 that catapulted him into a share of fifth place, making him the first player since Jordan Spieth (runner up in 2014, winner in 2015) to finish in the top five in each of his first two Masters starts.
A leader board loaded with majors
Scottie Scheffler won his first major championship by taking the Masters, but the three of the four players closest to him at the end of the day already had a major on their resume, with Rory McIlroy owning four, Collin Morikawa two and Shane Lowry one. The last time a player won the Masters for their first major and was followed by three previous major winners finishing in the top five was 2015 when Jordan Spieth won and was followed by Phil Mickelson and Justin Rose (T-2) and McIlroy, who finished fourth.
Thomas rolled the rock on the greens
Justin Thomas tied for eighth at the Masters and he owed a great deal of it to his putting, leading the field in putts per green in regulation at 1.49, an impressive number anywhere but particularly on Augusta National’s undulating greens. Helping Thomas to such a gaudy number was the fact he led the field in that stat in both round one and Saturday’s third round.
The 15th plays like a true par 5
Much was made about how the par-5 15th hole played much more difficult this year—and it did. However, after Scheffler and Cam Smith made birdies in the final group, the stroke average on that hole for the tournament dropped to 4.933, the highest since 2017 when it was a smidge higher at 4.934. Had the pair made par instead of birdie, you’d have to go back to 2007’s 4.980 when the conditions were unusually chilly and breezy to find a higher stroke average for the three-shotter.