Oliver Fisher cards the first 59 in European Tour history

Record-breaking Fisher shares lead in Portugal with Shane Lowry three off the pace

Oliver Fisher during day two of the Portugal Masters at Dom Pedro Victoria golf course. Photograph: Warren Little/Getty Images

Oliver Fisher during day two of the Portugal Masters at Dom Pedro Victoria golf course. Photograph: Warren Little/Getty Images

 

Someone, somewhere and some time had to do it. Who knew it would be Oliver Fisher? For almost half a century, the quest for a player on the PGA European Tour to break the magical sub-60 barrier had proven to be as elusive as proving the existence of a Yeti in the Himalayas . . . but, now, Fisher will forever have the distinction of being the history-maker after shooting a 59 in the second round of the Portugal Masters on the Victoria course at Vilamoura.

On no fewer than 19 occasions in the tour’s history had players managed to sign for 60s without ever breaking through the magical barrier. Darren Clarke - twice, at the Monte Carlo Open in 1992 and the European Open at The K Club in 1999 - had come closest, until Englishman Fisher’s masterclass in the Algarve.

According to the European Tour statistics, it has taken more than 690,000 rounds of golf in competitive tournaments on the circuit for someone to decipher the code: Fisher did so with a round that featured 10 birdies and an eagle without a bogey, although requiring a par save of 20 feet late on, to achieve a feat which had proven beyond Major champions and order of merit winners.

Fisher’s 59 moved him to a midway total of 12-under-par 130, which - ironically - wasn’t sufficient to give him the outright lead. He was forced to share the half-way lead with fellow Englishman Eddie Pepperell and Australian Lucas Herbert.

Having turned professional in 2006 after becoming the youngest player to compete in the Walker Cup (aged 16), Fisher has endured a topsy-turvy time on the professional circuit. His highpoint was his only tour win in the 2011 Czech Open and, more often than not, he has found himself in a fight to retain his tour card approaching the end of the season.

Shane Lowry shot a second round of 69 in Portugal. Photograph: Jan Kruger/Getty
Shane Lowry shot a second round of 69 in Portugal. Photograph: Jan Kruger/Getty

Fisher went into his second round initially playing to avoid the cut but got into the zone to do what no man had ever achieved before him on the European Tour. “It was fun, I tried to enjoy it and thankfully I got over the line,” he said of his 59.

Among those to congratulate him on social media was world number one Justin Rose, who described his achievement as “awesome.” But there was also a funny side to the flood of congratulations, with fellow English player Oliver Wilson - a former tour winner but mainly playing on the Challenge Tour these days - good-naturedly accepting the kudos which came his way in cases of mistaken identity: “Absolutely delighted. Loving getting these messages at home on the couch. #mr59,” tweeted Wilson.

Shane Lowry, a past winner on the course, remained in contention with a second round 69 for 133, nine-under, that had him in tied-seventh at the midpoint while Paul Dunne, after successive 68s for a total of 136, was positioned in tied-25th. However, Pádraig Harrington’s recent good form deserted him as he missed the cut, while Robin Dawson, on his professional debut, also failed to survive into the weekend.

Lowry - with his new caddie, Brian Martin, on his bag for the first time - started with nine successive pars, from the 10th, but had three birdies in five holes after the turn (at the first, third and fifth) only to suffer his only bogey on the ninth, his closing hole.

Collated second round scores and totals in the Portugal Masters (Gbr & Irl unless stated, par 71):

130 Lucas Herbert (Aus) 63 67, Eddie Pepperell 64 66, Oliver Fisher 71 59
131 Matt Wallace 64 67
132 Adrien Saddier (Fra) 66 66, Haotong Li (Chn) 65 67, Renato Paratore (Ita) 66 66
133 Jason Scrivener (Aus) 66 67, Marcus Kinhult (Swe) 68 65, Ricardo Gouveia (Por) 67 66, Shane Lowry 64 69
134 Ashun Wu (Chn) 70 64, Kim Koivu (Fin) 66 68, Gregory Havret (Fra) 70 64, Raphael Jacquelin (Fra) 66 68
135 Charl Schwartzel (Rsa) 69 66, Jorge Campillo (Spa) 67 68, Pep Angles (Spa) 70 65, Mikko Korhonen (Fin) 66 69, Tom Lewis 72 63, Stephen Gallacher 68 67, Andrew Sullivan 69 66, Jordan Smith 68 67, Richard Sterne (Rsa) 69 66
136 Lucas Bjerregaard (Den) 68 68, Richard Bland 68 68, David Horsey 68 68, Ashley Chesters 66 70, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Spa) 67 69, Josh Geary (Nzl) 68 68, Paul Dunne 68 68, Sergio Garcia (Spa) 66 70, Gian-Marco Petrozzi (Ita) 66 70, Yusaku Miyazato (Jpn) 68 68, Soomin Lee (Kor) 67 69
137 Mikael Lundberg (Swe) 71 66, Ross Fisher 68 69, Lasse Jensen (Den) 72 65, Haydn Porteous (Rsa) 68 69, David Howell 66 71, Sebastian Heisele (Ger) 68 69, Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel) 68 69, Matthew Baldwin 69 68, George Coetzee (Rsa) 67 70, Jacques Kruyswijk (Rsa) 69 68, Sam Locke (a) 68 69, Matthias Schwab (Aut) 69 68, Jason Norris (Aus) 67 70, Thorbjorn Olesen (Den) 68 69, Alejandro Canizares (Spa) 67 70, Ross McGowan 70 67
138 Soren Kjeldsen (Den) 70 68, Chris Wood 72 66, Matthieu Pavon (Fra) 68 70, Clement Sordet (Fra) 74 64, Ryan Fox (Nzl) 70 68, Danny Willett 69 69, Johan Edfors (Swe) 68 70, Phachara Khongwatmai (Tha) 68 70, Tapio Pulkkanen (Fin) 69 69, David Lipsky (USA) 69 69, Ricardo Santos (Por) 71 67, Nacho Elvira (Spa) 68 70
139 Andrew Johnston 71 68, Thomas Aiken (Rsa) 70 69, JC Ritchie (Rsa) 69 70, Matthew Nixon 73 66, Daniel Brooks 69 70, Birgir Hafthorsson (Isr) 73 66, Julien Guerrier (Fra) 71 68, Jaco Van Zyl (Rsa) 69 70, Scott Jamieson 70 69, Pablo Larrazabal (Spa) 72 67, Jin-ho Choi (Kor) 70 69, Felipe Aguilar (Chi) 70 69, Robert Rock 69 70, Marc Warren 75 64, Chris Hanson 67 72, Christiaan Bezuidenhout (Rsa) 70 69, Nino Bertasio (Ita) 67 72, Bradley Dredge 67 72

The following players have missed the half-way cut:

140 Pontus Widegren (Swe) 68 72, Charlie Ford 68 72, Mark Tullo (Chi) 73 67, Callum Shinkwin 69 71, Matthew Southgate 71 69, Sebastien Gros (Fra) 74 66, Ryan Evans 71 69, Richard Green (Aus) 70 70, Austin Connelly (Can) 68 72, Hunter Stewart (USA) 70 70, Lorenzo Gagli (Ita) 71 69, Sam Brazel (Aus) 69 71, Alexander Levy (Fra) 70 70, 141 Zander Lombard (Rsa) 68 73, Gavin Green (Mal) 72 69, Pedro Oriol (Spa) 68 73, Henric Sturehed (Swe) 72 69, Tomas Santos Silva (Por) 68 73, Aaron Rai 71 70
142 Richie Ramsay 72 70, Maximilian Kieffer (Ger) 68 74, Paul Waring 70 72, Daniel Im (USA) 71 71, Nick Cullen (Aus) 67 75, Peter Hanson (Swe) 75 67, Jeff Winther (Den) 73 69, Benjamin Hebert (Fra) 71 71, Padraig Harrington 73 69, Oliver Farr 69 73
143 Steven Brown 73 70, Robin Dawson 74 69, Matteo Manassero (Ita) 70 73, Pelle Edberg (Swe) 73 70, Jonathan Thomson 73 70, Angel Cabrera (Arg) 74 69, Paul Peterson (USA) 71 72, Harry Ellis 74 69, David Drysdale 70 73, Sebastian Soderberg (Swe) 69 74, Rak hyun Cho (Kor) 73 70, Jack Munro (Aus) 75 68
144 Marcel Siem (Ger) 70 74, Joel Stalter (Fra) 73 71, Matthew Jordan 71 73, Miguel null Gaspar (Por) 72 72, Bradley Neil 73 71, Hideto Tanihara (Jpn) 70 74, James Morrison 70 74
145 Steve Webster 71 74, Christofer Blomstrand (Swe) 72 73, Joakim Lagergren (Swe) 72 73, Thongchai Jaidee (Tha) 71 74, Alvaro Quiros (Spa) 74 71, Tiago Cruz (Por) 74 71, Sam Horsfield 70 75, Jens Dantorp (Swe) 71 74
146 Connor Syme 76 70, Richard McEvoy 72 74, Justin Walters (Rsa) 74 72, Gregory Bourdy (Fra) 73 73, Vitor Lopes (a (Por) 73 73
147 Romain Wattel (Fra) 74 73, Freddie Jacobson (Swe) 71 76, Jamie Donaldson 76 71, Simon Khan 69 78
148 Chase Koepka (USA) 75 73, Scott Fernandez (Spa) 74 74, Joao Carlota (Por) 74 74, Thomas Detry (Bel) 72 76
149 Joao Ramos (Por) 74 75
150 Laurie Canter 70 80

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