MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Rhein Gibson’s astonishing 55 at an Oklahoma golf course etched his name in the Guiness World Records but the unheralded Australian pro is determined to cast off the tag of “one-hit wonder”.
Gibson’s 2012 round of 16-under at River Oaks Golf Club in Edmond, Oklahoma, was confirmed as the lowest 18-hole score last year, an unforgettable feat for a 28-year-old who has grafted mostly in lower-tier competitions in the United States and Asia.
Though Gibson has never won a tournament of any significant profile, he underlined his quality last year with a tie for fourth in the Australian Open in a field boasting Adam Scott and Rory McIlroy.
That result sealed a berth to his first major tournament at this year’s British Open, where he snuck into the weekend’s play courtesy of a 12-foot putt in the fading light and was grouped with Tiger Woods and young gun Jordan Spieth in the third round.
Late bloomer Gibson showed another glimpse of his promise on Thursday, carding a four-under 68 in the first round of the Australian Masters in Melbourne to be a stroke off the lead of a quartet of local golfers in Steven Bowditch, Michael Wright, Stephen Allan and Todd Sinnott.
Though headline act Scott labored to a one-over 73 in tough, windy conditions, Gibson strolled off without a blemish on his card, despite getting his first look at Metropolitan Golf Club on Tuesday afternoon after flying in from America.
Still on a high from making it through to the final stage of qualifying for the United States’ second-tier Web.com tour, Oklahoma-based Gibson negotiated his round by watching his playing partners’ club selections, having never played a sandbelt course, or any other, in Melbourne.
“I’m kind of surprised, myself, a little bit,” Gibson, who grew up in Lismore, a rural town in northern New South Wales state, told reporters. “To shoot four-under, I’m stoked.
“I don’t want to be known as a one-hit wonder. Obviously, I think I can play.”
Boasting a degree in finance, Gibson said he could probably get a job tomorrow if golf did not work out, but was determined to add something to the 55 on his CV.
“I’m 28, so there are some younger guys that probably have done more than me but I feel like I’m progressing with my game and where I’m going,” he added.
“I don’t want my career to be known as 55. The better I can play now, kind of establish my name, and yeah, a win this week could change that.”
Editing by Peter Rutherford