Brandt Snedeker first player to shoot 59 on PGA Tour this year
Shane Lowry has work to do at Wyndham Championship to retain PGA Tour card
Brandt Snedeker has become the ninth player ever to record 59 on the PGA tour. Photograph: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
American Brandt Snedeker shot the 10th sub-60 round in PGA Tour history when he carded 11-under-par 59 in the opening round at the Wyndham Championship on Thursday.
After missing a short birdie at his penultimate hole, the par-four eighth, Snedeker rolled in a 20-foot birdie at the ninth at Sedgefield Country Club for the first 59 on tour this year.
He became the ninth player ever to record 59 on the PGA tour, while Jim Furyk holds the tour record with a 58. Furyk also has a 59, the only player with two sub-60s.
Snedeker, 37, is an eight-times PGA Tour winner, and a two-times American Ryder Cup member. He bettered his previous best score on tour by two strokes.
There was little hint early in Snedeker’s round that something special was in the offing, after he bogeyed his first hole in perfect morning conditions, with little wind and soft greens offering a low score to anyone on their game.
Snedeker clawed back to three under par at the turn, and then roared home in 27 strokes on his inward half, reeling off six birdies and an eagle.
He destroyed the hole, literally, with his eagle at the par-four sixth, where he slam dunked his ball into the cup from 176 yards.
Unable to see the hole at the elevated green, he did not realise he had holed the shot until he arrived at the green.
With one side of the hole badly damaged, officials took the unusual step of cutting a new one a couple of feet away.
“I was pretty upset [after the eighth] because I knew you’re not going to have many good looks to shoot 59,” Snedeker told PGA Tour Live. “I kept telling myself after I birdied number seven, I’ve shot 60 out here before in China one year; you do this to shoot 59 so quit worrying about it and hit two fairways, give yourself two good looks [at birdie] and make one of the putts.
“Unfortunately I left myself one of the hardest four-footers you can have, a downhill right-to-lefter and I didn’t hit a great putt. I kept telling myself on nine, I don’t care if you four-putt, three-putt, but do not leave this putt short and luckily it held in there and went right in the middle. What a cool day.
“I just had a feeling I was going to do it, didn’t want to try to shy away from it at all. Last time I shot 60 I had a chance on the last two holes and kind of shied away from it and today I wasn’t going to do that. “I found something on the back nine and started hitting a bunch of great iron shots and those days are fun. It’s why we play in practice and put all this time in to have days like this.
“If you had seen me yesterday you would have said there is no way I’m probably going to make the cut let alone shoot 59. It’s probably why I love golf so much, you never know what you’re going to get when you show up.”
Meanwhile, Shane Lowry finished his first round on one under par, but will need a big improvement on Friday. The highlight of his front nine was an eagle on the par-5 fifth, before adding a birdie on the 15th to go two under. But any late momentum was halted by a bogey on the par-4 17th hole.
A tied-12th finish in the US PGA last week – which earned a payday of €162,157 – moved him up 17 places (from 156th to 139th) on the latest FedEx Cup points table and he needs to get inside the top-125 to retain his US tour card. He’ll likely need a top-five finish this week to keep his card.
Séamus Power (123), Graeme McDowell (143) and Pádraig Harrington (220) have similar missions, with Power the only one of the quartet currently with one hand on the card.
Fellow early starter McDowell had a mixed opening day, finishing level par after three birdies and three bogeys. Power later finished four over par, a double bogey on the fourth hole proving a sign of things to come. Teeing off on the back nine, Harrington finished level with Lowry on one under par after also carding a 69.
List of the 10 sub-60 rounds in the history of the PGA Tour
58 - Jim Furyk (final round, 2016 Travelers Championship)
59 - Al Geiberger (second round, 1977 Memphis Classic)
59 - Chip Beck (third round, 1991 Las Vegas Invitational)
59 - David Duval (final round, 1999 Bob Hope Classic)
59 - Paul Goydos (second round, 2010 John Deere Classic)
59 - Stuart Appleby (final round, 2010 Greenbrier Classic)
59 - Furyk (second round, 2013 BMW Championship)
59 - Justin Thomas (first round, 2017 Sony Open in Hawaii)
59 - Adam Hadwin (third round, 2017 CareerBuilder Challenge)
59 - Brandt Snedeker (first round, 2018 Wyndham Championship)
Collated first round scores, The Wyndham Championship (70, US unless stated):
|59 Brandt Snedeker
63 John Oda , Ryan Moore
64 D.A. Points , Abraham Ancer (Mex), Ollie Schniederjans , Martin Flores , David Hearn (Can), Jonathan Byrd , Brett Stegmaier
65 Sung Kang (Kor), Aaron Baddeley (Aus), Jim Furyk , Ryan Armour , Cheng-Tsung Pan (Tai), Keith Mitchell , Nick Taylor (Can), Brice Garnett , Corey Conners (Can)
66 Peter Malnati , Jason Dufner , Harold Varner III , Sam Saunders , Jamie Lovemark , Webb Simpson , Harris English , Ricky Barnes , Michael Thompson , Denny McCarthy , Sergio Garcia (Spa), Billy Horschel
67 Brian Davis (Eng), Scott Stallings , Hudson Swafford , Dylan Meyer , Alex Cejka (Ger), Trey Mullinax , Stephan Jaeger (Ger), Ryan Blaum , Sang-moon Bae (Kor), Cameron Percy (Aus), Kevin Tway , Zac Blair , Tommy Gainey
68 Scott Brown , Vaughn Taylor , Doc Redman , Richy Werenski , Danny Lee (Nzl), Chad Campbell , Wesley Bryan , Ernie Els (Rsa), Russell Henley , Ken Duke , Patrick Rodgers , Tyrone Van Aswegen (Rsa), Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Spa), Dominic Bozzelli , Henrik Stenson (Swe), Shawn Stefani , Xin-jun Zhang (Chn), Andrew Yun , Norman Xiong , Roberto Diaz (Mex), Matt Every , Chesson Hadley , Doug Ghim , Fabian Gomez (Arg), Billy Hurley III , Joaquin Niemann (Chi), Mackenzie Hughes (Can), Blayne Barber
69 Adam Schenk , Jason Kokrak , Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn), James Driscoll , Nicholas Lindheim , Bill Haas , Shane Lowry (Irl), Martin Laird (Sco), Mickey DeMorat , Shane Bertsch , Stuart Appleby (Aus), Rory Sabbatini (Rsa), Chris Kirk , David Lingmerth (Swe), William McGirt , Lanto Griffin , Tom Hoge , Conrad Shindler , Jonas Blixt (Swe), J.J. Henry , T.J Vogel , Carl Pettersson (Swe), Padraig Harrington (Irl)
70 Stewart Jolly , Nick Watney , Matt Jones (Aus), Brian Gay , Daniel Berger , Ben Crane , Grayson Murray , Steve Stricker , Graeme McDowell (NIrl), Scott Piercy , Martin Piller , Brendan Steele , Hunter Mahan , Whee Kim (Kor), Rob Oppenheim , John Huh , Johnson Wagner , Tyler Duncan , Jhonattan Vegas (Ven), Matthew Fitzpatrick (Eng)
71 Satoshi Kodaira (Jpn), Robert Garrigus , Benjamin Silverman (Can), Will Zalatoris , Steve Wheatcroft , Bronson Burgoon , Derek Fathauer , Peter Uihlein , Julian Suri , Zecheng Dou (Chn), Jason Bohn , JT Poston , Brendon Ger Jonge (Zim), Chris Stroud , John Merrick , Retief Goosen (Rsa), Davis Love III , Parker McLachlin , Andres Romero (Arg), Jonathan Randolph , Cameron Tringale
72 Brian Stuard , Kris Blanks , Sam Ryder , Kyle Thompson , Talor Gooch , George McNeill , Arjun Atwal (Ind), Sean O’Hair , Matt Atkins , Dicky Pride , Brandon Harkins
73 Rod Pampling (Aus), Robert Streb , Si Woo Kim (Kor)
74 Ethan Tracy , Tom Lovelady , Cody Gribble , Daniel Summerhays , Seamus Power (Irl)
75 Charles Frost