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:
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?