Masters By The Numbers: Winning at Augusta does not require an eye-popping round

2018 Masters Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

Masters By The Numbers: Winning at Augusta does not require an eye-popping round

PGA Tour

Masters By The Numbers: Winning at Augusta does not require an eye-popping round

The Masters is special because players and golf fans remember the famous birdies and eagles that created roars through the Georgia pines, like Jack Nicklaus’ eagle on 15 in 1986, Tiger Woods’ chip-in on 16 in 2005 and Phil Mickelson’s back-to-back eagles on 13 and 14 in 2010.

That might give you the impression that in order to win the Masters, a player needs to do something extraordinary or shoot at least one especially-low round, like a 64 or a 65. But looking at all the Masters-winning scores shows that a solid 3-under 69 each day would win the Masters in most years.

Winning Masters scores

The most-common winning score at the Masters is 8 under par (13 times). The second-most common winning score has been 9 under, which has won 11 Masters.

Augusta National is a par-72 course, so shooting a 2-under 70 each day would give a player an 8-under score. On a course where golfers tend to eat up the par 5s, that does not seem like an exceptional round. While no golfer has ever shot four rounds in the 60s at a Masters, if someone could shoot a 3-under 69 each day he would reach -12, a score that would have won or earned a spot in a playoff in 70 of the 81 Masters.

As for a recent scoring trend, as you might suspect, it is toward lower winning scores. Since the first Masters was won by Horton Smith in 1934 at 4 under, the average winning score has been -8.33. But from 1990 to 2017, the average winning score has been -10.57, which includes Zach Johnson’s win at 1-over 289 at a chilly 2007 Masters. Take the Iowan’s win out of the equation and the average winning score since 1990 drops to 11 under. In the chart below, tapping one of the dots or hovering your mouse over one will reveal the player, winning score and year of the victory.

There is a chance of rain in Augusta on Wednesday, but the forecast for Thursday and Friday is dry with light wind. Saturday may see some rain and stronger wind, but after early showers on Sunday’s final round will likely be played under cloudy skies. If that forecast holds and some rain comes, Augusta National may play softer and scoring conditions could be ideal.

In other words, expect to hear plenty of roars through those Georiga pines again this week.

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