Golf's Magic Number: I Now Pronounce You Mr. & Mrs. 59

Annika59

Earlier this month marked the 15th anniversary of Annika Sorenstam’s historic 59.  The first and only woman to reach golf’s Holy Grail, Annika joined a list of 20 other professional golfers to shoot 59 in a tour-sanctioned event.  Since her fateful round in 2001, there have been other women to post a 60, but in a sport where a single stroke separates winners from runners-up, that’s close but no cigar. Annika takes “you go girl” to a whole new level in my book.

The first professional to record a 59 was Al Geiberger in the second round of the 1977 Danny Thomas Memphis Classic.  Starting on the 10th tee, he tallied 11 birdies and an eagle to finish 13-under par for that round alone!

Recently, Jim Furyk shot 59 in the second round of the 2013 BMW Championship at Conway Farms Golf Club.  He made one bogey but added 11 birdies and an eagle to become just the sixth man in PGA TOUR history to shoot golf’s magic number.

Even on the senior tour shooting 59 isn’t out of the question. In 2014 at the age of 50, Kevin Sutherland poured in 12 birdies to post a 59 in the third round of the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open. He even had a chance for a 57, but bogeyed the final hole (yep, 59 with an 18th-hole bogey). Sutherland’s front nine went birdie-birdie-birdie-birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie-birdie-par (28) … not a bad way to start the day.

The list of pros to shot 59 or better:

  • Kevin Sutherland: 59 – 2014 Dick’s Sporting Goods Open
  • Jim Furyk: 59 – 2013 BMW Championship
  • Will Wilcox: 59 – 2013 Utah Championship
  • Russell Knox: 59 – 2013 Albertsons Boise Open
  • Jason Bohn: 58 – 2011 Bayer Championship
  • Ryo Ishikawa: 58 – 2010 The Crowns
  • Paul Goydos: 59 – 2010 John Deere Classic
  • Stuart Appleby: 59 – 2010 Greenbrier Classic
  • Martin Kaymer: 59 – 2006 Habsberg Classic
  • Adrien Mork: 59 – 2006 Tikida Hotels Agadir Moroccan Classic
  • Jason Gore: 59 – 2005 Cox Classic
  • Phil Mickelson: 59 – 2004 PGA Grand Slam of Golf
  • Masahiro Kuramoto: 59 – 2003 Acom International
  • Annika Sorenstam: 59 – 2001 Standard Register PING
  • David Gossett: 59 – 2000 PGA TOUR Q-School
  • Shigeki Maruyama: 58 – 2000 U.S. Open Qualifying
  • David Duval: 59 – 1999 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic
  • Notah Begay III: 59 – 1998 Dominion Open
  • Doug Dunakey: 59 – 1998 Miami Valley Open
  • Chip Beck: 59 – 1991 Las Vegas Invitational
  • Al Geiberger: 59 – 1977 Danny Thomas Memphis Classic

I can say I’m part of the 59 Club too, but not for 18 holes.  I’ve shot 59 for nine holes, 10 and even 11 holes.  Maybe one day, in my retired years, I’ll make it to 14 holes before eclipsing the 59 mark.

What do you think?  Is 59 just a number or more of an aspiration? 

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