PGA Starting Strong in the New Year
February 11th, 2017
We’re only three tournaments into the 2017 PGA calendar at the time of this article’s writing, and already this year feels like an all-timer. At the end of 2016, there were only six players to have ever recorded a score of 59 in a PGA round. Now there are eight.
In the first tournament of the year, the SBS Tournament of Champions in Hawaii, Justin Thomas earned his second win since joining the Tour. A week later, he won the Sony Open in Hawaii after shooting an 11-under 59 in the opening round. He is the youngest player ever, at 23 years old, to shoot below 60. The back-to-back wins and the exceptional scoring have earned Thomas a spot in the top ten of the world golf rankings, as he has risen to eighth in the most recent updating.
Normally, one round of 59 would make a PGA season exceptional. This year we’ve already got a second courtesy of Adam Hadwin, a 29-year-old product of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Hadwin became the first player ever without a PGA tournament win to record a 59 in an official tournament with his third round at the CareerBuilder Challenge (formerly the Bob Hope Classic) at the La Quinta course in the Coachella Valley in California. The 13-below-par score made Hadwin the leader going into the final round of the tournament, and the third-year tour member went on to finish second behind Hudson Swafford.
“Someone told me there are more people to walk on the moon than those that have shot 59,” said Adam to Global News in a post-round interview. “It sounds slightly ridiculous, but it is true.” Talking about how he felt before the final stroke, he continued, “I thought to myself that if you miss a straight three-foot putt uphill to shoot 59, you’ll never live it down . . . Then I had to forget that and focus on my routine.”