Uihlein comes up just short at Dunhill Links
American misses chance to become first player to shoot a 59 on European Tour
Uihlein narrowly missed a long eagle putt on the par-five ninth at Kingsbarns, his final hole, and had to settle for a course record-equalling round of 60 to lie two shots off the lead held by England’s Tom Lewis.
Last year, South African Branden Grace also shot 60 on the same course — one of three used for the pro-am event — and went on to lift the title, his fourth of the season.
Uihlein, who won his maiden title in Madeira in May, started on the back nine at Kingsbarns and followed a birdie on the 11th with an eagle on the 12th, before picking up birdies at the 17th and 18th to reach the turn in 31.
At that stage a 59 did not look on the cards, but the 24-year-old birdied the second, carded his second eagle of the day on the third and then birdied three of his next four holes.
A birdie chance went begging from 20 feet on the eighth to leave the former world number one amateur needing to eagle the ninth to create history, but his long-range effort slid just past the hole.
“I knew I needed to make an eagle and I thought I hit a good putt,” said Uihlein, who recorded the 17th round of 60 on the European Tour; Jim Furyk shot the sixth 59 on the PGA Tour in the BMW Championship earlier this month.
“I thought it would come back to the right but it kept going left. Today started off with me hitting it close and not making anything and then I started holing it from everywhere. It was just one of those days that went for me.
“When I made that birdie on the 17th to go 11 under that was the first time 59 crossed my mind. I was in the zone out there and it was cool. I am definitely not as calm underneath (as it looked) but I just tried to stay with my routines and keep the same swing thought.
“I put a lot of work in during the off-season and even on my off weeks I’m still practising and grinding so it’s nice to see the results so quickly.”
Playing partner Ernie Els shot a 65 to finish 10 under — “I feel like I shot 90,” he joked — but on another day of perfect scoring conditions that was still five shots off the lead.