Bubba Watson won the Travelers Championship by knocking a 73-yard lob wedge to within a foot or two on the 72nd hole to finish with a clinching birdie. Watson’s shot not only won the tournament for him, but brought to mind how important it is for tour pros to knock it close when they're inside 100 yards. Though bombing tee shots seem to get the most attention, it all goes for naught if the player can’t knock the subsequent approach close. With that in mind, we take a look at the top five in approach-shot proximity from inside 100 yards and the lob wedges they use.
- Robert Streb is a bit of an anomaly in this statistical category, as he ranks first in proximity at 11 feet, 8 inches, but is just even par on those shots. So while Streb might want to work on his putting (he once had to put with his wedge after breaking his putter at the 2015 Greenbrier Classic), there is no reason for him to think about changing his Titleist Vokey SM7 60-degree wedge.
- Long-hitting Thomas Pieters doesn’t play all that often on the PGA Tour, but when he does, he tends to knock it tight when in close. Pieters has an average proximity of 11 feet, 10 inches from inside 100 yards. His lob wedge is Callaway’s Mack Daddy 4 model. The club has just 8 degrees of bounce and Callaway’s C grind, which has substantial heel relief that makes it easier for players to hit from tight lies with an open face. Seems like Pieters can hit it well with a square face, too.
- Haotong Li is starting to gain some recognition for his play and part of his success comes from his touch inside 100 yards as he averages 12 feet, 11 inches from the hole on such shots. Li’s lob wedge earlier in the season was a Callaway Mack Daddy 4, but Li now uses TaylorMade’s Milled Grind Hi-Toe 58-degree wedge. The Hi-Toe features a raised upper corner that is reminiscent of several higher-lofted specialty models introduced in recent years, all in some way inspired by the Ping Eye2 L-wedge, first introduced in the mid-1980s.
- The No. 4 ranking on this list belongs to Webb Simpson, who hits it to an average of 13 feet, 2 inches. Simpson, who won the Players, uses a Titleist Vokey prototype 60-degree wedge with six degrees bounce and the tour-popular K grind. A True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 steel shaft and Golf Pride Tour Velvet 58 round grip completes the club.
- Vaughn Taylor not only knows how to knock it close (13 feet, 3 inches), but also how to get it in the hole when he does. Taylor has had 61 shots inside 100 yards and is 20 under par on the holes that he hit those shots on. We'd all sign up for that. Taylor’s lob wedge is a Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Custom 60-degree wedge with mid bounce.