Golf Majors Betting - How Often Does The 3rd Round Leader Go On To Win?

Updated: 3084 Golf

Betting on the 3rd round leader can pay dividends but percentage-wise should you be backing him or laying him? This Golf betting blog gives you all the information so you can make a value betting decision, and hopefully profit from these golf statistics.

Golf Majors Betting - How Often Does The 3rd Round Leader Go On To Win?
Nigel Skinner Blog Content Manager

Football Manager Expert and Political Betting Specialist across Exchange and Spread Betting Sites

3rd Round Leader Statistic Intro

How often does the 3rd round leader in major golf tournaments go on to win the trophy?

Does the final golf round induce panic in the leader?

golf

Can playing with less pressure secure you a major?

Does playing in the last group always win you the major?

These are the question we asked with the aim to unearth some betting value behind the golf statistics.

You can view below the winners of the  4 golf majors since 2010 and see where they finished in comparison to them leading the field after 3 rounds of golf. 

The choice is then yours to back them to go on and win or lay them to falter in the final round. 

The 4 major golf tournaments are

  • The Masters
  • US PGA
  • US Open
  • The Open Championship

If you wish to add your own golf tips or view other golf tipsters advice please visit the OLBG Golf Tipping Pages.

US Masters 3rd Round Leader Statistics

The 13 players who were 3rd Round Leader/Co-Leader at Augusta since 2010 have an average final-round score of 72 and in the five years where a European had the lead heading into Sunday only Sergio Garcia converted back in 2017.

Garcia edged out England’s Justin Rose in a sudden-death play-off. 

American Brandt Snedeker in 2013 and the aforementioned Rory McIlroy in 2011 are the only two 3rd Round Leaders who failed to finish inside the top five after holding the 54-Hole lead. 

We have only seen three 3rd Round Leaders shoot sub 70 rounds to claim victory at Augusta National on Sunday, the big-hitting Bubba Watson in 2014, Spaniard Sergio Garcia in 2017, and Dustin Johnson in 2020. 

Designed by Bobby Jones and Alister MacKenzie, Augusta National Golf Club has been hosting The Masters Tournament since 1934. The private club is a Par 72 layout measuring 7,510 yards and this year will mark the 87th edition of one of sports most recognisable championships. The world’s best head down Magnolia Lane in early April and it is the only one of golf’s four major championships that is played at the same course each year.

Since 2010 sixteen golfers have been leading The Masters Tournament heading into the final round, and on only seven occasions has someone with a share of the lead went on to win the coveted Green Jacket. A strike rate of 43% over the last thirteen years in Georgia is not surprising given the trials and tribulations on the most famous back nine in all of world golf.

In 2011 Rory McIlroy made a triple bogey on the Par 4 10th hole en route to a final round of 80 which seen the Northern Irishman finish ten shots behind eventual winner Charl Schwartzel in a tie for 15th place. The County Down native has won the other three major championships but is still to land the elusive Grand Slam, his best finish at Augusta National came in 2022 when the four-time major champion finished runner up to American Scottie Scheffler. 


Year 3rd Round Leader Strokes Ahead Final Round Finishing Placing
2022 Scottie Scheffler
3 Shot Lead 71 Winner By 1 Shot
2021 Hideki Matsuyama
4 Shot Lead
73
Winner By 1 Shot
2020 Dustin Johnson 4 Shot Lead 68 Winner By 5 Shots
2019 Francesco Molinari 2 Shot Lead 74 Tied In 5th Place - 2 Shots Behind Winner
2018 Patrick Reed 3 Shot Lead 71 Winner By  1 Shot
2017 -Joint Leaders Sergio Garcia  1 Shot Lead 69 Play-Off Winner 
2017 - Joint Leaders Justin Rose 1 Shot Lead 69 Play-Off 2nd Place
2016 Jordan Spieth 1 Shot Lead 73 Tied 2nd Place - 3 Shots Behind Winner
2015 Jordan Spieth 4 Shot Lead 70 Winner By 4 Shots
2014 -Joint Leaders Bubba Watson 1 Shot Lead 69 Winner by 3 Shots
2014 - Joint Leaders Jordan Spieth 1 Shot Lead 72 Tied 2nd Place - 3 Shots Behind Winner
2013 - Joint Leaders Angel Cabrera  1 Shot Lead 70 2nd Place Via Play-Off
2013 - Joint Leaders Brandt Snedeker 1 Shot Lead 75 Tied 6th Place - 5 Shots Behind Winner
2012 Peter Hanson 1 Shot Lead 73 Tied 3rd Place - 2 Shots Behind Winner
2011 Rory McIlroy 4 Shot Lead 80 Tied 15th Place -10 Shots Behind Winner
2010 Lee Westwood 1 Shot Lead 71 2nd Place - 3 Shots Behind Winner



The sixteen players who were 3rd round co-leader at Augusta since 2010 have an average final-round score of 71.87 and in the five years where a European had the lead heading into Sunday only Sergio Garcia converted back in 2017. The Spaniard edged out England’s Justin Rose in a sudden-death play-off to land his maiden major title and join his golfing heroes Seve Ballesteros and José María Olazábal on the major championship roll of honour.

American Brandt Snedeker in 2013 and the aforementioned Rory McIlroy in 2011 are the only two 3rd Round Leaders who failed to finish inside the top five after holding the 54-hole lead, they struggled to final rounds of 75 and 80 respectively to fall right out of contention. We have only seen three 3rd Round Leaders shoot sub-70 rounds to claim victory at Augusta National on Sunday, the big-hitting Bubba Watson in 2014, Spaniard Sergio Garcia in 2017, and LIV Golf’s Dustin Johnson in 2020.

PGA Championship - US PGA - 3rd Round Leader Statistics

The US PGA Championship was originally a match-play format and was first hosted back in 1916 at Siwanoy Country Club in the village of Bronxville in Westchester County, New York. The winner England’s Jim Barnes received $500 US Dollars and a diamond-studded gold medal donated by Rodman Wanamaker, an American businessman associated with John Wanamaker Department Stores. In 1958 it became a 72-hole stroke play event and to this date, the winner is presented with a replica Wanamaker Trophy.

In 2020 Dustin Johnson held the 54-hole lead at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco but was unable to convert, his fellow countryman and debutant Collin Morikawa produced a final round of 64 to finish two shots clear of Johnson and Englishman Paul Casey. Twelve months later, Phil Mickelson at the age of 50 claimed his second PGA Championship victory and sixth major title when he converted the halfway lead at Kiawah Island Golf Resort in South Carolina. The American set a new record for the oldest major winner beating the late Julius Boros who previously won the 1968 PGA Championship at Pecan Valley in Texas, aged 48.

Year Course 3rd Round Leader Strokes Ahead Final Round Finishing Placing
2022 Southern Hills Country Club (Par 70)
Mito Pereira
3 Shot Lead 75 Tied 3rd 1 Shot Behind Winner
2021 Kiawah Island Golf Resort (Par 72)
Phil Mickelson 1 Shot Lead 73 Winner By 2 Shots
2020 TPC Harding Park - Par 70 Dustin Johnson 1 Shot Lead 68 Tied 2nd Place - 2 Shots Behind Winner
2019  Bethpage Black Course - Par 70 Brooks Koepka 7 Shot Lead 74 Winner By 2 Shots
2018 Bellerive Country Club - Par 70 Brooks Koepka 2 Shot Lead 66 Winner By 2 Shots
2017 Quail Hollow Golf Club - Par 71 Kevin Kisner 1 Shot Lead 74 Tied 7th Place - 4 Shots Behind Winner
2016 Baltusrol Golf Club - Par 70 Jimmy Walker 1 Shot Lead 67 Winner By 1 Shot
2015 Whistling Straits - Par 72 Jason Day 2 Shot lead 67 Winner By 3 Shots
2014 Valhalla Golf Club - Par 71 Rory Mcllroy 1 Shot Lead 68 Winner By 1 Shot
2013 Oak Hill Country Club -Par 70 Jim Furyk 1 Shot Lead 71 2nd Place - 2 Shots Behind Winner
2012 Kiawah Island Golf Resort - Par 72 Rory Mcllroy 3 Shot Lead 66 Winner By 8 Shots
2011 - Joint Leaders Atlanta Athletic Club - Par 70 Jason Dufner 1 Shot Lead 69 2nd Place - Play-Off
2011 - Joint Leaders Atlanta Athletic Club - Par 70 Brendan Steele 1 Shot Lead 77 Tied 19th Place - 8 Shots Behind Winner
2010 Whistling Straits - Par 72 Nick Watney 3 Shot Lead 81 Tied 18th Place - 7 Shots Behind Winner


Since 2010 we have seen no fewer than seven 3rd Round Leaders/Co-Leaders go on to claim the Wanamaker Trophy on Sunday, a strike rate of 53% which is an eye-catching figure given eight of the last fourteen PGA Champions were first-time major winners.

The fourteen players who were 3rd Round Leader/Co-Leader in the tournament conducted by the Professional Golfers' Association of America have an average final-round score of 71.14. In the last thirteen editions of the PGA Championship, just the four golfers from outside of the United States of America have held the 54-hole lead. Three of the four converted their lead into a major title, Jason Day at Whistling Straits in 2015 and Rory McIlroy’s two victories at Valhalla Golf Club and Kiawah Island Resort in 2014 and 2011 respectively.

The American duo of Brendan Steele and Nick Watney were the only two golfers who failed to post a Top 10 finish after going out in the final group on Sunday. Brendan Steele carded a seven-over par 77 at Atlanta Athletic Club in 2011 and five-time PGA Tour winner Nick Watney signed for a nine-over par 81 at Whistling Straits the year before after a photographer’s camera snapped on the Californian’s backswing on the Par 3 7th resulting in a triple bogey after his tee shot ended up in Lake Michigan.


US Open - 3rd Round Leader Statistics

The first U.S. Open was hosted in 1895 on a nine-hole course at the Newport Country Club in Rhode Island. It was a 36-hole competition played in a single day with a field of just eleven golfers, ten professionals and one amateur. Since 1898 the championship has been the traditional 72-hole stroke play format and the U.S. Open is often the toughest major of the year in terms of course setup. Payne Stewart won the 91st U.S. Open at Hazeltine National in 1991 posting six under par and in the thirty-one editions since only ten have been won with a score of five under par or better. 

The level of difficulty continued to be the case in 2018 at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club when third-round leader Brooks Koepka went on to win on a total of 281, one over par. Two years later at Winged Foot in 2020 just 1 of the 144 strong field finished under par on the West Course, Bryson DeChambeau posted six under par over 72 holes to finish six shots clear of 54-hole leader Matthew Wolff.

Year Course 3rd Round Leader Strokes Ahead Final Round Finishing Placing
2022 The Country Club Brookline - Par 70
Matt Fitzpatrick
1 Shot Lead 68 Winner By 1 Shot
2022 The Country Club Brookline - Par 70 Will Zalatoris
1 Shot Lead 69 Tied 2nd Place - 1 Shot Behind Winner
2021 Torrey Pines - Par 71
Louis Oosthuizen
2 Shot Lead 71 2nd Place - 1 Shot Behind Winner
2021 Torrey Pines - Par 71
Mackenzie Hughes 2 Shot Lead 77 Tied 15th - 7 Shots Behind Winner
2021 Torrey Pines - Par 71 Russell Henley 2 Shot Lead 76 Tied 13th - 6 Shots Behind Winner
2020 Winged Foot - Par 70 Matthew Wolff 2 Shot Lead 75 2nd Place - 6 Shots Behind Winner
2019 Pebble Beach - Par 71 Gary Woodland 1 Shot Lead 69 Winner By 3 Shots
2018 - Joint Leader
Shinnecock Hills - Par 70
Brooks Koepka
1 Shot Lead
68
Winner By 1 Shot
2018 - Joint Leader
Shinnecock Hills - Par 70
Dustin Johnson
1 Shot Lead
70
3rd Place - 2 Shots Behind Winner
2018 - Joint Leader Shinnecock Hills - Par 70
Tony Finau
1 Shot Lead
72
5th Place - 4 Shots Behind Winner
2018 - Joint Leader Shinnecock Hills - Par 70 Daniel Berger 1 Shot Lead 73 Tied 6th Place - 5 Shots Behind Winner
2017 Erin Hills - Par 72 Brian Harman 1 Shot Lead 72 Tied 2nd Place - 4 Shots Behind Winner
2016 Oakmont Country Club - Par 70 Shane Lowry 4 Shot Lead 76 Tied 2nd Place - 3 Shots Behind Winner
2015 - Joint Leader Chambers Bay - Par 70 Jordan Spieth 3 Shot Lead 69 Winner By 1 Shot
2015 - Joint Leader Chambers Bay - Par 70 Dustin Johnson 3 Shot Lead 70 Tied 2nd Place - 1 Shot Behind Winner
2015 - Joint Leader
Chambers Bay - Par 70
Branden Grace
3 Shot Lead
71
Tied 4th Place - 2 Shots Behind Winner
2015 - Joint Leader Chambers Bay - Par 70
Jason Day 3 Shot Lead 74 Tied 9th Place - 5 Shots Behind
2014 Pinehurst No 2 - Par 70 Martin Kaymer 5 Shot Lead 69 Winner By 8 Shots
2013 Merion Golf Club - Par 70 Phil Mickelson 1 Shot lead 74 Tied 2nd Place - 2 Shots Behind Winner
2012 - Joint Leader Olympic Club - Par 70
Graeme McDowell 2 Shot Lead 73 Tied 2nd Place -1 Shot Behind Winner
2012 - Joint Leader Olympic Club - Par 70 Jim Furyk 2 Shot Lead 74 Tied 4th Place -2 Shots Behind Winner
2011 Congressional Country Club - Par 71 Rory Mcllroy 8 Shot Lead 69 Winner By 8 Shots
2010 Pebble Beach - Par 71 Dustin Johnson 3 Shot Lead 82 Tied 8th Place - 5 Shots Behind Winner


Incredibly brutal greens, penal rough, dramatic bunkering and a tough test of golf is the challenge set out by the United States Golf Association and since Dustin Johnson’s meltdown at Pebble Beach Golf Links in 2010 where he closed with a Sunday 82, just the six 3rd Round Leaders/Co-Leaders have gone on to lift the U.S. Open Trophy. 

In the last thirteen editions of this great championship, the strike rate for 3rd Round Leaders/Co-Leaders going on to win sits at 26% with an average final-round score of 72.21 which interestingly is the highest of the four major championships dating back to 2010. Germany’s Martin Kaymer and Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy both entered the final round with a healthy lead and each carded closing rounds of 69 to win by eight shots at Pinehurst No.2 in 2014 and Congressional Country Club in 2011 respectively.

The Open Championship - 3rd Round Leader Statistics

The Open Championship, The British Open, Golf’s Original Major, call it what you will but under the guidance of The R&A, this tournament is the oldest and most prestigious in the game of Golf. Founded in 1860, it was originally held annually at Prestwick Golf Club, before evolving to being rotated between a select group of coastal Links golf courses across Scotland, England, and Northern Ireland.

In 2019 Royal Portrush hosted the Championship for the first time since 1951 and Irishman Shane Lowry thrilled the home crowds by converting a 54-hole lead to win by six shots from England’s Tommy Fleetwood in County Antrim. The 36-year-old from County Offaly joined Rory McIlroy, Darren Clarke and Pádraig Harrington in making it five Claret Jug triumphs for the Island of Ireland since the 136th Open Championship at Carnoustie in 2007.

Year Course 3rd Round Leader Strokes Ahead Final Round Finishing Position
2022 St Andrews - Par 72 Viktor Hovland
4 Shot Lead 74 Tied 4th - 6 Shots Behind Winner
2022 St Andrews - Par 72 Rory McIlroy 4 Shot Lead
70 3rd Place -2 Shots Behind Winner
2021 Royal St Georges - Par 70 Louis Oosthuizen 1 Shot Lead 71 Tied 3rd Place - 4 Shots Behind Winner
2020 Cancelled Cancelled Cancelled Cancelled Cancelled
2019 Royal Portrush - Par 71 Shane Lowry 4 Shot Lead 72 Winner By 6 Shots
2018 - Joint Leader Carnoustie - Par 71 Kevin Kisner 2 Shot Lead 74 Tied 2nd Place - 2 Shots Behind Winner
2018 - Joint Leader Carnoustie - Par 71
Xander Schauffele
2 Shot Lead 74 Tied 2nd Place - 2 Shots Behind Winner
2018 - Joint Leader Carnoustie - Par 71
Jordan Spieth
2 Shot Lead 76 Tied 9th Place - 4 Shots Behind Winner
2017 Royal Birkdale - Par 70 Jordan Spieth 3 Shot Lead 69 Winner By 3 Shots
2016 Royal Troon - Par 71 Henrik Stenson 1 Shot Lead 63 Winner By 3 Shots
2015 - Joint Leader St Andrews - Par 72 Louis Oosthuizen
1 Shot Lead 69 Tied 2nd Place Via Play-Off
2015 - Joint Leader St Andrews - Par 72
Jason Day 1 Shot Lead 70 Tied 4th Place - 1 Shot Behind Winner
2015 - Joint Leader St Andrews - Par 72
Paul Dunne 1 Shot Lead 78 Tied 30th Place - 9 Shots Behind Winner
2014 Royal Liverpool - Par 72 Rory Mcllroy 6 Shot Lead 71 Winner By 2 Shots
2013 Muirfield - Par 71 Lee Westwood 2 Shot Lead 75 Tied 3rd Place - 4 Shots Behind Winner
2012 Royal Lytham & St Annes - Par 70 Adam Scott 4 Shot Lead 75 2nd Place - 1 Shot Behind Winner
2011 Royal St Georges - Par 70  Darren Clarke 1 Shot Lead 70 Winner By 3 Shots
2010 St Andrews - Par 72 Louis Oosthuizen
4 Shot Lead 71 Winner By 7 Shots


Since 2010 six 3rd Round Leaders/Co-Leaders have gone on to become The Champion Golfer of the Year, a strike rate of 35% with an average final-round score of 71.88 from the seventeen players who held a share of the 54-hole lead. In the last thirteen years, South African Louis Oosthuizen has held the lead heading into the final round three times but just once has he lifted the Claret Jug. Former winners Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth have each held a share of the lead going into Sunday at The Open Championship on two occasions, both registering a strike rate of 50%.

Who will forget one of the greatest final-round duels in major championship history back in 2016 at Royal Troon when Henrik Stenson carded a Sunday 63 to hold off past champion Phil Mickelson. It was truly a duel for the ages and in the process, the Swede broke Greg Norman’s record for the lowest four-day total in an Open Championship and tied Jason Day's mark for the lowest score in relation to par in a major championship.

Major Golf Betting Conclusion

In the fifty-one major golf championships dating back to the 2010 Masters Tournament at Augusta National, twenty-six times the 3rd Round Leader/Co-Leader has gone on to win the tournament. That is a current 54-hole leader strike rate of 50.98% across all four major championships. However, over the last thirteen years, seventy players have held a share of the lead heading into Sunday at a major and 37% of the time they went on to claim victory. The final-round scoring average for those seventy sits at 71.81.

Only 3 players have failed to break 80, Rory McIlroy in the 2011 Masters Tournament, Dustin Johnson in the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links, and Nick Watney in the 2010 PGA Championship played at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin. Both McIlroy and Johnson have gone on to become multiple major champions, lift the PGA Tour’s end-of-season FedEx Cup and top the Official World Golf Rankings on more than one occasion. Nick Watney has participated in eighteen majors since, missing the cut in eight appearances and posting just the two Top 20 finishes, the best of which was a tied 12th in the 2011 PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club.

You now need to check the golf betting odds of each player who led at the end of the third round and decide if that player offers betting value.

If you are new to Golf Betting, please check out the Betting School pages and specifically - the golf betting advice article.

Author: STEVEOCN 

OLBG Member since 2012. 

Steve is a Liverpool fan and has worked in the Betting Industry since 2019.

As well as golf, he enjoys following the Darts and Snooker.


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