Englishman Luke Donald won the Accenture Match-play Championship playing just 89 holes during his six matches for the week. He was never behind at any time and never had to play the 18th hole, and in-fact only had to play the 17th hole once.
He amassed 32 birdies for the week - an average of more than five per round, which was also seven more than anybody else in the field. He seemed to be a golfer in complete control of his game and was rarely threatened even when the challenge was taken to him he had the answer.
Luke Donald is not a long hitter of the golf ball (Averages 277 yards or around 250 meters from the tee) and in-fact actually went through the process of trying to increase his distance off the tee to be more competitive with the longer hitters which turned out to be a bad decision for him.
Fortunately though, he went back to what he knows and trusts and this victory in the Accenture Matchplay Championship has propelled him from 9th place in the Sony World Rankings to number three.
Luke Donald’s weapon - his competitive advantage is his supreme confidence in his short-game. His consistent chipping, pitching, sand and putting skills gives him a decided advantage competing on the PGA tour because whenever he misses a green in regulation there is a very high probability that he will get the ball onto the green and into the hole for par or better most of the time.
This is very typical for the top ranked players on the PGA tours. Have a look at some of the key performance statistics of Luke Donald from last season (2010) on the PGA tour and you'll see exactly what I mean.
Score Average - 70.25 / rank 31st
Top 10 Finishes - 7 / rank 6th
Putts Per Greens Hit in Regulation - 1.751 / rank 17th
Total Putts - 28.46 / rank 8th
3 Putt Avoidance - 1.63 % / rank 5th (3 putts or more divided by total holes played)
Sand Saves - 66.39 % / rank 1st
Proximity to Hole from Sand (Greenside) Average 7 feet from the hole / rank 2
Greenside Scrambling - 65.41 % / rank 4th
Putting Inside 5 Feet - 98.22 % / rank 3rd
Putting 5 to 15 Feet - 51.45 % / rank 2nd
Putting 3 to 5 Feet - 92.68 % / rank 7th
Scrambling From the Greenside Rough - 67.41 % / rank 4th
If you want to see where great golf is really played, study the statistics of Luke Donald and start looking at these key performance statistics in your game. You will quickly realize that improvement in any of these short-game skills will definitely lower your score average faster and make you a lot more competitive on the golf course sooner.