Brandt Snedeker shoots 59, one shy of PGA record
Brandt Snedeker reacts after making a birdie putt on the ninth hole during the first round of the Wyndham Championship golf tournament in Greensboro, N.C., on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018. Sneaker shot a 59 in the first round. (Chuck Burton / The Associated Press)
The Associated Press
Published Thursday, August 16, 2018 1:05PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, August 16, 2018 2:17PM EDT
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Brandt Snedeker predicted low scores at the Wyndham Championship -- but not this low.
Snedeker shot an 11-under 59 on Thursday, falling one shot shy of matching the PGA Tour record.
He made a 20-foot putt on his final hole to become the 10th player in tour history to break 60. Jim Furyk set the record with a 58 in the final round of the Travelers Championship in 2016.
"I better be smiling," Snedeker said. "I don't do this every day."
This is the third consecutive year the PGA Tour has had a sub-60 round. Snedeker is the first to shoot 59 since Adam Hadwin in the third round of the 2017 Careerbuilder Challenge.
Snedeker -- who said a day earlier that the tournament would turn into a "birdie-fest" -- began his round at par-70 Sedgefield Country Club with a bogey at No. 10, and he took off from there. He played the front nine in 27, including an eagle 2 on the par-4 sixth hole when he holed out from 176 yards.
After that shot, Snedeker said a 59 felt like a real possibility. He remembered a non-tour event he played in China in which he was one putt from that score, but those thoughts "got in the way.
"To know what you're trying to do and step up and have a 20-footer (on the final hole) and know what it means, I was very aware of what was going on, and to knock that putt in was really special," Snedeker said. "To know I'm a part of a small club on tour and not very many people have done this, really cool feeling right now."
Snedeker, the 2012 FedEx Cup champion, won the Wyndham in 2007. He broke Si Woo Kim's 2-year-old Wyndham record of 60 and had the best opening round in this event's history. Arjun Atwal had a 61 in 2010.
It's been a somewhat frustrating, turbulent year for Snedeker. He has three top-10 finishes and two missed cuts in his last seven events and has not won on tour since 2016. During his first 16 tournaments of the season, he finished in the top 10 just once.
"Nobody could see this coming -- trust me," Snedeker said. "As much as I tried to positive self-talk myself into playing good, I didn't see 59 coming today, to be honest with you. ... Luckily, it kind of clicked all day today, and hopefully it will keep clicking for the next three days."
At No. 80 on the points list entering the final event of the tour's regular season, he's nowhere near the playoff bubble and his spot at The Northern Trust next week in New Jersey seems safe. But that ranking is his lowest since the tour's post-season format debuted in 2007.
During his tie for 42nd at the PGA Championship last week in St. Louis, Snedeker says he "kind of found something" when he simplified some swing fundamentals and began to feel better about that part of his game.
Then, he spent the first round showing it off.
Snedeker, who began his round on the back nine, reeled off four consecutive birdies on Nos. 13-16. He then got even hotter on his final nine holes, with six birdies in addition to the shot of the day on No. 6. But he missed a 3-foot birdie putt on No. 8 that would have made a 58 possible.
"Could have been even more special," he said, "but happy with the way everything turned out."