GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA | Forget superstition. Forget getting scared. Forget trying to ignore the possibility of shooting 59.
Brandt Snedeker shot 59 in the first round of the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club at least in part because he chased it.
He wanted it.
And he got it, holing a 20-foot birdie putt on his finishing hole to shoot the 10th sub-60 round in PGA Tour history. It gave Snedeker a five-stroke lead after the morning wave Thursday.
Snedeker started his round at the par-4 10th hole and made a bogey there after hooking his tee shot. He turned in 3-under-par 32 then shot 27 coming in, one stroke off the Tour’s nine-hole scoring record held by Corey Pavin.
“I thought about it. I don’t know how you wouldn’t,” said Snedeker, who once missed a putt for 59 at a non-PGA Tour event in China. His lowest previous score on Tour was 61.
“I said, ‘You’ve got to embrace it, you’ve got to want to do it.’ I was standing on (No.) 8 tee saying, ‘You’re not going to have a better opportunity than this. You’ve got two short holes left, birdie opportunities, the greens are perfect, they’re soft. If you can’t do it now, you’re not going to be able to do it, to get it done, figure out a way to get it done.’ Luckily, I was able to do it.”
Snedeker played his last five holes 5-under par – and missed a 6-foot birdie putt at No. 8, his 17th hole.
The firecracker was the 176-yard 7-iron he flew into the cup for an eagle at the par-4 sixth hole. It damaged the hole so badly Tour officials opted to cut a new hole, approximately 1 foot away from where the original hole had been.
The delay while waiting for the hole to be repaired helped Snedeker, who then hit a 224-yard 5-iron to within 3 feet for a birdie at his 16th hole, putting him 10-under par on the par-70 layout.
“I’m 9-under par with three to go, I’ve got two birdie holes left I know of, that’s 8 and 9. It’s not crazy to shoot 59. Like, ‘That’s why we’re here, let’s keep going, don’t be complacent now because you’re 9-under par, take advantage of this opportunity,’ ” Snedeker said.
“Then when the 5-iron got close on 7, I was like, ‘OK, you’ve got to do it, it’s not going to get any easier than this.’ ”
Playing companion Billy Horschel, who shot 66, got caught up in what Snedeker was doing.
“I’m like, ‘Oh, he’s playing great.’ Then he almost made a hole-in-one at No. 7 and that got him to 10 (under) and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, he’s got a shot at 59. This is awesome,’ ” Horschel said.
On his final hole, Snedeker had a 20-footer, slightly uphill and breaking right to left, to break 60. He knew it was in before it got to the hole.
“About 6 feet to go I was like, ‘There’s no way this thing’s missing,’ and I got really excited obviously. And then when it went in, you know, it’s what you play for,” said Snedeker, who won this event in 2007.