Goydos leads with ‘iconic’ 59

Paul Goydos has became only the 4th PGA Tour player to shoot a 59 – but it was only good enough for a 1-shot lead

Paul Goydos on Thursday became only the fourth player in PGA Tour history to shoot a 59 – but it was only good enough to give him a one-shot lead after the first round of the John Deere Classic in Illinois.
An early starter, Goydos, one of Corey Pavin’s US Ryder Cup team vice-captains for the Celtic Manor battle this October, birdied the 18th hole at TPC Deere Run in Silvis to complete a 12-under-par opening round, only to then see defending champion Steve Stricker, the world number four, shoot an 11-under 60 late in the day.
Goydos, a 46-year-old Californian, was four under for the day after his front nine on the 7,257-yard, par-71 course and then came home in 28 after eight birdies on his back nine.
While Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa shot a 58 in the final round of The Crowns on his home tour on May 2, it was the first 59 on the PGA Tour since David Duval’s final round at the 1999 Bob Hope Classic with Al Geiberger in 1977 and Chip Beck in 1991 the only other players to have achieved the feat in an American tour event.
The first 59 on a par-71 course came in soft, wet conditions and with lift, clean and place rules in effect after some heavy rain in the area but Goydos, who had needed just 22 putts, was understandably delighted with his round.
“Wow, you know, 59 is a pretty iconic number, and I keep going ‘wow’,” Goydos said.
“It’s just one of those days where I played well, I putted well, I chipped well, I thought well, and someone was smiling on me; so it was just a really, really good day.
“You know, that sounds to understate the achievement, but it’s still sinking in.”
Goydos admitted that after missing the cut in his last two starts, he could not have predicted such a reversal of fortune.
“I would be hard pressed to say anybody really sees this type of round coming on,” he said.
“But having said that, I definitely was scuttling on the bottom of the ocean here the last three or four months, but I thought I was getting better.
“Last week I missed the cut, but I did some good things. I thought my game was getting better. I just needed to have some good things happen more than anything.
“And today, all the bad bounces and all the buried balls and bunkers and three-putts or whatever that happened in the last three and a half months kind of got evened out today.
“It just was one of those days where every good thing that can happen happened, and every putt I hit went right in the middle.”
Goydos’ round had bettered the course-record 61 at TPC Deere Run equalled last year by Stricker en route to his victory last year.
Stricker opened his defence with a birdie at the par-four first and was at five under after his front nine. Four birdies after turning for home left Stricker needing an eagle-birdie finish.
He birdied the par-five 17th after sending in a 65-foot eagle putt to three feet and moved to 10 under, remarkably still two shots off the pace.
Stricker was still in the hunt to match Goydos as he sent in his approach shot at the par-fourth 18th from 159 yards.
He missed out on the critical eagle by just two feet before taking a birdie for his 60.
With Goydos at 12 under and Stricker at 11 under there was a clear lead over the rest of the field.
Fellow American Michael Letzig also went bogey-free for a seven-under 64; the same score shot by Australians Matt Jones, Aaron Baddeley and James Nitties.
The group were all five strokes behind Goydos.
Jay Williamson finished at six under following a 65 where he was joined by compatriots Scott McCarron and Charley Hoffman and Sweden’s Daniel Chopra.
Goydos’ playing partner Jonathan Byrd shot a 66 in a seven-way tie for 11th and Rocco Mediate was in a large group on 67 alongside recently-crowned Travelers champion Bubba Watson and former Masters winner Zach Johnson, a co-runner-up behind Stricker here last year.
Andres Romero of Argentina was among those posting 68s, as was Brian Davis but fellow Englishman Greg Owen was disqualified after an opening 70, his marker having failed to sign his scorecard.