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The Lowest Rounds Shot in Golf

By: Golfshake Editor | Mon 20 Apr 2020 | Comments

What is the lowest round that you have shot? If you have a Golfshake Account, see what the best tracked score is there, but when it comes to charting impressive numbers, the first place to check are records on the professional tours. However, if you dig a little deeper, there have been several staggering 18-hole totals compiled beyond the glare of TV cameras.

Officially, if you sift through the Guinness Book of World Records, Australian tour pro Rhein Gibson shot a 55 (−16) on 12 May 2012, at River Oaks Golf Club in Edmond, Oklahoma, making 12 birdies and two eagles, which is the lowest verifiable round on record.

Many would tell you that scores only truly count when it really matters, so with regards to competitive golf, 57 is the standout number, notably shot by Bobby Wyatt in the 2010 Alabama Boys Junior Championship, and 20-year-old college player Alex Ross in the 2019 Dogwood Invitational, whose round at the Druid Hills Golf Club in Atlanta comprised of 13 birdies and one eagle. Irishman David Carey also shot 57 at the Alps Tour's Cervino Open. 

Aged 46, Jim Furyk made a breakthrough on the PGA Tour at the 2016 Travelers Championship, shooting 58 in the final round on the par 70 TPC River Highlands, hitting all 18 greens in regulation, a career highlight for the past U.S. Open winner.

Japanese star Ryo Ishikawa shot a final round of 58 to complete his victory at The Crowns in 2010, while Germany's Stephan Jager opened with a 58 at the Ellie Mae Classic in 2016 on the Web.Com Tour. He went on to win that event. Elsewhere, Shigeki Maruyama shot a 58 in U.S. Open Qualifying in 2000, Jason Bohn shot a winning 58 on the Canadian Tour in 2001, while America's John Hahn posted 58 midway through European Tour Q-School in 2014, although was ultimately not successful in securing a tour card.

Before these numbers became part of history, 59 was the magic total for golfers, the seemingly unreachable objective of breaking 60. Gary Player did so at the Brazil Open on a par 69 in 1974, but it remains Al Geiberger's 59 at the PGA Tour's Danny Thomas Memphis Classic three years later that is considered the watershed moment. 

Remarkably, that feat wasn't matched until 1991, when Chip Beck broke 60 at the Las Vegas Invitational. Notah Begay III and Doug Dunakey both shot 59 in 1998 on the Nike Tour, but it was David Duval who made headlines in 1999 by shooting a final day 59 to win the Bob Hope Classic. Never forget just how good the American was around the Millennium.

Whenever records are written in women's golf, Annika Sorenstam is usually in the conversation, and it was her 59 at the Standard Register PING on the LPGA Tour that remains a benchmark.

Masahiro Kuramoto made history on the Japan Golf Tour in 2003, while Jason Gore and Adrien Mork both shot 59 on either side of the Atlantic during the mid-2000s on the secondary tours.

However, on the PGA Tour, Duval's 59 had stood as the most recent until 2010, when Paul Goydos opened the John Deere Classic with a stunning 59. Incredibly, it was only a matter of weeks before Australia's Stuart Appleby emulated that achievement, but in the final round to win the Greenbrier Classic.

Will Wilcox and Scotland's Russell Knox both recorded 59s on the Web.Com Tour in 2013, while the apparent master of the low round, Jim Furyk enjoyed his first moment in the sun at the BMW Championship later that same year. The veteran American remains the only golfer to have shot multiple rounds under 60 on tour.

Since then, reflecting more common low scoring, Justin Thomas, Adam Hadwin, Brandt Snedeker and Kevin Chappell have added their names to the roll of honour on the PGA Tour, while Kevin Sutherland and Miguel Angel Martin made history in the senior ranks. In 2018, Oliver Fisher's 59 at the Portugal Masters was the first official sub-60 round on the European Tour.

In the men's major championships, Johnny Miller's 63 at Oakmont in 1973 stood as the record - equalled 36 times since - until Branden Grace's 62 at Royal Birkdale in the Open Championship in 2017.

How you determine the best rounds is entirely subjective - Miller's winning effort at the U.S. Open is hard to beat - the individual difficulty, length and conditions of the course have to be taken into account, likewise the circumstances of the round, how much pressure was on the situation. 

Nonetheless, the glass ceiling of 60 has been truly shattered in golf. We can only wonder what the next milestone will be.

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