GREENSBORO, North Carolina (Reuters) - Brandt Snedeker shocked himself as much as anyone with his 11-under-par 59 in the opening round at the Wyndham Championship on Thursday.
The 37-year-old American offered a reminder of the fickle nature of the game when he recorded the 10th sub-60 round in PGA Tour history.
“To step up and have a 20-footer (at the final hole) and know what it means, when I knocked that putt in it was really special to know that I’m part of a small club on tour,” Snedeker said after becoming the ninth player to record 59 on the PGA tour.
Jim Furyk holds the record with a 58. Furyk also has a 59, the only player with two sub-60s.
“If you’d seen my play yesterday, nobody could see this coming, trust me,” said Snedeker, who “found something” late on Wednesday that helped him synch-up his swing.
“Crazy day. You start off with a bogey, a snap hook three-wood off the 10th tee (but I) made some long putts on the front nine and got hot on back nine.”
There was little hint early in Snedeker’s round that something special was in the offing in perfect morning conditions, with little wind and soft greens offering a low score to anyone on their game at Sedgefield Country Club.
Four consecutive birdies from his fourth hole got the ball rolling, before he plundered his inward half, roaring home in 27 strokes with six birdies and an eagle.
It was not until the eagle at the par-four sixth, a seven-iron uphill form 176 yards, that 59 seemed a realistic goal.
With one side of the hole badly damaged, officials took the unusual step of cutting a new one a couple of feet away.
The delay gave Snedeker a chance to control his adrenaline and focus on the final three holes.
“Ended up being a good thing looking back,” said the eight-times PGA Tour winner. “Allowed me to slow down.”
A five-iron to two feet at the par-three seventh left Snedeker needing one more birdie for 59.
He promptly missed a five-foot birdie chance at his penultimate hole, leaving him needing a birdie at the par-four ninth.
One of the quickest players on tour took typically little time, reading a little break and using his pop-stroke to send the ball tracking towards the hole and a piece of history in an event where he recorded his first tour victory in 2007.
“About six feet to go, I said no way this thing’s missing,” Snedeker said.
“It’s very rare out here when you have something to do and you step up with this pressure and you do it.
“If you don’t get excited for that, then you need to find another job.”
(Corrects Snedeker’s age to 37 in paragraph 2)
Reporting by Andrew Both,; Editing by Alison Williams and Ed Osmond