Jim Furyk became the sixth U.S. PGA Tour player with a round of 59 in competition, achieving the feat during the second round of the BMW Championship.
Furyk, 43, sank a 3-foot birdie putt on his final hole yesterday to become the first player since Stuart Appleby in 2010 to break 60. Furyk’s previous career-low round was 62.
The 2003 U.S. Open champion, Furyk had 11 birdies, an eagle and a bogey on a windy day at the par-71 Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, Illinois, site of the third event in the PGA Tour’s four-tournament playoff series.
“It’s a magic number,” Furyk, runner-up at last month’s PGA Championship, said in a televised interview. “It’s hard to get under 30 for nine, it’s really hard to get under 60. There’s not much I could have improved on today, so I think I’ll sleep pretty good.”
He is tied with Brandt Snedeker for the tournament lead at 11 under after a 1-over 72 in the opening round. Tiger Woods, who was assessed a two-stroke penalty on his first hole yesterday when he tried to move a loose impediment and his ball moved, is seven shots back at 4 under after rounds of 66 and 72.
“It will sink in later,” Furyk said. “I’m excited. I’ll have to calm down later tonight and realize that I’m in contention in the golf tournament. I still have the weekend ahead of me. But I’ll enjoy this one for a few hours at least.”
Beginning play on the course’s 10th hole with three straight birdies, Furyk added another birdie on the 14th before making an eagle on the 15th, holing a fairway wedge shot from 115 yards. He closed the opening nine holes with an 8-under 28 score after birdies on the 17th and 18th holes.
Furyk continued his strong play with three more birdies on holes 2-4 before dropping his lone shot on the par-4 fifth hole, where he three-putted for a bogey from 29 feet. He missed a 5-foot par putt to briefly fall to 10 under, only to regain the stroke two holes later with an 11-foot birdie putt.
Needing to play the final two holes in at least 1 under par, Furyk hit his 250-yard approach shot on the par-5 eighth hole into a greenside bunker and settled for a par.
“It was a little hectic coming down the stretch,” Furyk said.
After hitting his tee shot into the fairway on the final hole, Furyk hit a wedge to 3 feet, 3 inches of the flag and knocked the putt in for a 59, pumping his right fist to the crowd after it dropped. He hugged his longtime caddie, Mike “Fluff” Cowan and was later shown autographing his golf ball and glove.
Five other players have recorded rounds of 59 in U.S. PGA Tour history. Appleby was the most recent, in the final round of the 2010 Greenbrier Classic. Paul Goydos, David Duval, Chip Beck and Al Geiberger are the only other golfers with 59s in an official PGA Tour round. Bo Van Pelt shot a 59 during the Phoenix Open Pro-Am this year.
The BMW Championship features the top 70 players remaining in the standings after the playoff-opening Barclays event and the Deutsche Bank Championship.
After the BMW, the top 30 in the standings will compete for the FedEx Cup title and its $10 million bonus at the Tour Championship in Atlanta from Sept. 19 to 22.