Four years ago this week, in the second round of the BMW Championship at Conway Farms on Sept. 13, 2013, 2018 Ryder Cup USA Captain Jim Furyk fired a score of 12-under 59.
It was the fifth 59 in PGA Tour history.
Since then, there have been four more sub-60 rounds on the PGA Tour. Interestingly, the first of those three also belongs to Furyk and happens to be the lowest 18-hole score in PGA Tour history.
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On August 7, 2016, Furyk fired a 12-under 58 at TPC River Highlands in the Travelers Championship. The round consisted of 10 birdies, an eagle and seven pars.
With today’s second round of the BMW Championship — again at Conway Farms — we take a look back at all eight of the 59s in PGA Tour history.
In chronological order:
1. Al Geiberger, second round of the 1977 Memphis Classic, 13-under 59 (29-30)
The original, “Mr. 59,” Geiberger’s 59 is often regarded as the best of the bunch, not only because it happened on a par-72 layout at Memphis’s Colonial Country Club but also because he was the first to break that sub-60 barrier.
Geiberger won the tournament and, believe or not, is still the only player in PGA Tour history to win a non-major without a single round in the 60s. His three other rounds at the Memphis Classic were 72, 72 and 70. He won by three strokes over runners-up Jerry McGee and Gary Player.
Incredibly, the next-best score turned in the day that Geiberger shot his 59 was a 67. He was eight shots better than the next best. The round was played under lift, clean and place rules.
While preferred lies were in place that day, Geiberger told Golf Digest in a 2012 piece that he didn’t remember ever improving a lie in that round.
Geiberger’s 59 bettered the previous Tour-record score of 60 that seven players shared at the time, including Sam Snead and Tommy Bolt. Al Brisch at the 1951 Texas Open was the first Tour player to shoot 60. It took 26 years for Geiberger to top that.
2. Chip Beck, third round of the 1991 Las Vegas Invitational, 13-under 59 (30-29)
Beck credited the 1991 Ryder Cup — played just two weeks earlier — for his score of 59. He told writer Stan Awtrey in a story on PGATOUR.com that “the historic event likely wouldn’t have happened had he not just returned from the rigors of the Ryder Cup.”
Beck had spent a week battling the Europeans at Kiawah Island, where the greens were firm and fast — with putts sometimes breaking 20 feet in two and three different directions. After a successful, pressure-filled week representing the United States, he was drained by the time he reached Las Vegas.
At the same time, though, he felt relieved from the first moment his spikes hit the greens at Sunrise Golf Club.
Beck began the week by holing a 60-foot birdie putt. In the third round, he recorded 13 birdies and five pars.
Beck would finish tied for third in the five-round event, eight strokes behind Andrew Magee and D.A. Weibring. Magee won that tournament in a playoff.
3. David Duval, final round of the 1999 Bob Hope Classic, 13-under 59 (30-29)
This is the first of two 59s carded in the final round of a tournament. Duval turned the trick at PGA West. He began the day seven strokes off the lead, but wound up winning by one over Steve Pate in the sweetest fashion possible; an eagle on the last hole, a par 5.
Imagine the euphoria of not only holing an eagle putt on the final hole to win a PGA Tour event, but also holing it to tie the lowest score in Tour history. Impressive stuff.
The round included 11 birdies and one eagle.
4. Paul Goydos, second round of the 2010 John Deere Classic, 12-under 59 (31-28)
“Today was a nuclear bomb. I don’t know where it came from. If I knew that, I wouldn’t be able to touch it.”
— Paul Goydos on his 59, the fourth in PGA Tour history
Goydos hadn’t been playing the greatest golf in the months leading up to the 2010 John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run. That didn’t matter in Round 2.
Conditions lent themselves to low scores. Heavy rains had softened the course, allowing players to be extra aggressive with their approach shots and players were also allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls.
Goydos birdied every hole on the back nine except for the 15th, where he holed a 6-footer for par.
Steve Stricker shot a 60 that day, too. That, along with the 59 by Goydos, made for the two lowest scores ever in a single round on the PGA Tour.
“I think that is a goal in your career, to break 60,” said Goydos, who would go on to finish second, two behind Stricker. “When I look back and I’m not playing anymore … I’ve got 10 holes-in-one. I’ve got three double-eagles. Fifty-nine is one of those things I’m going to look at and say, ‘That’s pretty cool.'”
5. Stuart Appleby, final round of the 2010 Greenbrier Classic, 11-under 59 (28-31)
This effort by Appleby was the first 59 recorded on a par-70 course, TPC Old White Course. Appleby would win the tournament by a stroke over Jeff Overton.
Appleby’s 59 included nine birdies and an eagle. It came less than a month after the 59 by Goydos.
Appleby’s 59 broke the course record of 60 set by Sam Snead in 1950 and matched later by J.B. Holmes. But, Appleby acknowledged that Snead’s 60 — because of the equipment — was likely the better score.
“I think I would have to shoot a 56 to even compare to something like that, for sure,” Appleby said.
Still, we’re sure he’ll be content with the 59.
6. Jim Furyk, second round of the 2013 BMW Championship, 12-under 59 (31-28)
Furyk’s round of 59 was made even more impressive because he overcame a 3-putt bogey from 30 feet on his 14th hole of the day.
The next best score on that day? Jordan Spieth and Jimmy Walker each shot 65s.
Given the conditions — strong, gusty winds — fellow players were blown away by Furyk’s score.
“I thought, ‘What the heck? Are you serious? There’s no way,'” Brandt Snedeker said. “On a day like this when the wind is blowing 20 mph out of the north, I don’t think anybody out here saw that score coming.”
Said Furyk: “I guess the moment kind of struck me the most at No. 9 when I hit the wedge shot in there close, and the crowd erupted and I started looking around and it just hit me how many people had come over to that side to see the finish and how excited the crowd was. It was kind of like winning a golf tournament, to be honest with you. It made it that much more fun.”
Furyk would finish the tournament in third place, three behind winner Zach Johnson.
7. Justin Thomas, first round at the 2017 Sony Open in Hawaii, 11-under 59 (30-29)
As if things couldn’t get better for Thomas. And they would get better and better in the 2016-17 season.
One week after winning the SBS Tournament of Champions in Maui, Thomas hopped over to Oahu and fired his 59 at Waialae Country Club.
Like Duval at PGA West before him, Thomas completed the 59 thanks to an eagle on the final hole. Thomas buried his 15-footer for the 59.
At 23 years old, Thomas became the youngest player with a sub-60 score in PGA Tour history. His round included eight birdies, two eagles and a bogey. He needed just 23 putts.
Thomas would win the tournament by seven strokes over Justin Rose. Following the 59, he fired rounds of 64, 65, 65. The 27-under 253 total by Thomas is a 72-hole record.
8. Adam Hadwin, third round at the 2017 CareerBuilder Challenge, 13-under 59 (29-30)
If you thought the gap — less than one month — between Goydos and Appleby shooting 59s was short, then how about the gap between Thomas and Hadwin? One week.
Hadwin, from Canada, had 13 birdies for the day at La Quinta Country Club. He would finish the tournament in second, one behind Hudson Swafford.