Oh Deere! Goydos fires 59

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Associated Press
Friday, July 9, 2010
— Amazingly, the best score of Steve Stricker’s PGA career wasn’t enough to make him a tournament leader.

The Edgerton native and defending champion shot an 11-under-par 60 in Thursday’s first round of the John Deere Classic. But that left him in second place.

After struggling for four months on the PGA Tour, Paul Goydos shot a blistering 59 to hold a one-stroke lead with a stunning round that came out of nowhere.

“Today was a nuclear bomb,” Goydos said. “I don’t know where it came from. If I knew that, I wouldn’t be able to touch it.”

Perhaps just as amazing was the fact that Goydos led by only one stroke after Stricker just missed tying him on the last hole.

All told, it made for the two lowest scores ever in a single round at a PGA event.

With the par-71 TPC Deere Run course softened by three days of intermittent rain, a lot of golfers were expected to go low. But a 59 and then a 60 on the same day? No one could have expected that.

“You’re 12 back before you even step on the first tee. That’s tough to swallow,” Stricker said. “That’s why you’ve got to get into a little different thought process and get in your own little world and chip away.”

“The course is ripe for scoring,” he added.

But for one of the mostly unlikely players?

Goydos has missed almost as many cuts as he’s made. He hasn’t had a top-40 finish since early May. He led the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in February by a stroke with five holes to play, only to tumble out of contention with an embarrassing quadruple-bogey 9 on No. 14.

“I’ve been very good at playing poorly now for the last 10 tournaments or so,” Goydos said.

Not anymore.

Goydos, with only two victories in his 18 years on the PGA Tour, became only the fourth player in tour history to shoot a 59.

His tee shots found the middle of the fairway. His approaches stuck on the green. And, most importantly, his putts found the middle of the cup over and over again.

Stricker’s almost did, too.

His second shot on the par-4 18th bounced on the green and appeared to be heading for the cup. But it curled around at the last second, leaving him an easy 2-footer for the 11th birdie in his bogey-free round.

Stricker’s score beat his previous career best of 61, which he shot in the second round here last year en route to winning the John Deere Classic.

Stricker kept alive his hopes of catching Goydos by salvaging par on No. 14 after hitting into a bunker left of the green. After another par on 15, Stricker closed with three straight birdies.

Goydos, who hasn’t won on the tour since 2007, needed just 22 putts to dominate on a course where the wet conditions allowed for preferred lies, permitting golfers to lift, clean and place their ball on the fairway.

Goydos birdied every hole on the back nine except for No. 15, where he holed a 6-foot par putt to keep alive his hopes. He finished off with three birdies, the last one from 7 feet to join the most exclusive club in golf.

Goydos raised his putter to a roar from the crowd when his 59th shot fell into the cup and he high-fived his way to the clubhouse.

“It’s almost a mythical number in our game,” Goydos said. “I’ve gone from clubbing a ball in the backyard all the way to the moon, and missed all the steps in between.”

Goydos is a most unlikely member of the 59 club. At No. 137 in the world ranking, he missed his last two cuts and had not broken par in his last six rounds.

Last updated: 2:24 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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