Posted at 11:32 am April 13, 2019
AUGUSTA, Ga. – Five golfers who had already won a major championship started Saturday tied for first place in the 2019 Masters at 7 under. After a crazy day at Augusta National, one of them, the Italian Francesco Molinari, now has a two – shot lead with just 18 more holes to play.
The weather conditions were bad for the region of Augusta Sunday afternoon, so it was announced Saturday afternoon that the groups would start playing on the first and the 10th tee on Sunday at 7:30 ET in the hope of ending tournament. Molinari will start at 9:20 with Tony Finau, who shot 64 shots on Sunday, and Tiger Woods, four-time Masters, who scored 67 points. Finau and Woods will both start at 9 under.
Common sense would say that Molinari has the best chance of winning the green jacket, but according to the statistics, what are the odds that he wins it?
According to EAGLE, the predictive golf model of the Economist, Molinari has four chances out of ten to have donned a green jacket Sunday afternoon.
Every two minutes, the EAGLE system simulates 10,000 times the score of each player on each hole to reveal all the plausible possibilities of the tournament. As players complete each hole and more and more real scores are added to the analysis, EAGLE recalculates more than 140 million hypothetical results, measuring how each score changes the probability that each player wins.
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Here is a list of the top ranked players and their EAGLE winning odds, as well as analysis from Golfweek senior writer, David Dusek.
Chance to win: 40.2%
scores: 70-67-66, 13 under
What to watch on Sundays: Birds at 12, 13, 14 and 15 years old to create a two-shot cushion could be huge if the winds begin to swirl on Sunday morning. Over the past year, Molinari has moved in cold blood, removing Tiger Woods to win the British Open last year. It will not crack, so there is a good chance that pasta will be on the 2020 dinner menu.
Chance to win: 16.3 percent
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scores: 70-68-67, 11 under
What to watch on Sundays: Nobody sends Augusta National's customers into a frenzy like Woods, 14-time major tournament winner who won his last major tournament at the 2008 US Open. Woods has won his fourth Masters for 14 years, but his Iron game is extremely sharp and on Saturday he managed some important putts. The key for Tiger will be to leverage the par 5 and keep the pressure on Molinari.
Chance to win: 15 percent
scores: 71-70-64, 11 under
What to watch on Sundays: This is Finau's second Masters and Saturday's 64 is his lowest lap. He ranks 13th on the PGA Tour average driving distance (309.3 yards) and was huge starting this week. Dynamic player, if he goes back to heat, as on the first day of Saturday, Saturday, he could win his first major title.
Chance to win: 8.8%
scores: 66-71-69, 10 under
What to watch on Sundays: Indestructible, the two-time US champion and last year's PGA Championship winner is as mentally strong as he comes. Even with a double bogey on the second normal 5 hole on Friday, he took advantage of the long holes and is 8 under level 5 for the week.
Chance to win: 3.6%
scores: 72-71-64, 9 under
What to watch on Sundays: The winner of the 2012 US Open, Simpson, has shot 63 times or more at least five times last season on the PGA Tour and should have a lot of confidence after beating a 64 Saturday. By starting four strokes behind Molinari, he will need another big round and help from the leaders, though he plays a decisive role on the last nine Sunday.
Chance to win: 3.0 percent
scores: 68-71-68, 9 under
What to watch on Sundays: If Poulter can find the level of play he brings to the Ryder Cup, he has a chance. At age 43, it is the 14th Masters of English. He knows the course well, but he can not afford to take a slow start. Statistically, Poulter is not an elite iron player nor a putter; he will need his A-match on Sunday.
Chance to win: 0.3 percent
scores: 67-73-70, 6 under
What to watch on Sundays: Nobody has ever come seven strokes back to win a Masters, but it would be quite as if Mickelson was the first to succeed. Of course, that will not happen, but Mickelson will be out on Sunday flag hunt and could create roars.