LAKE FOREST, Ill. — As Jim Furyk approached his ball on the ninth green late Friday afternoon, a spectator yelled: “Jimmy, I’ll give that to you!”
His ball had settled 3 feet, 3 inches from the cup. That’s all that separated him from becoming the sixth player in PGA Tour history to shoot a 59.
Furyk drained it, hugged caddie Mike (Fluff) Cowan and walked into the history books.
“It’ll sink in later,” he said.
Furyk’s 12-under 59 also gave him a share of the lead at the BMW Championship, the third of four FedEx Cup playoff events. Not bad for a guy who opened with a 1-over 72.
“I’ll enjoy these next few hours at least,” he said, “and then I’ll have to calm myself down and realize I’m in contention.”
The 43-year-old Pittsburgh-area native, who won the 2003 U.S. Open at Olympia Fields outside Chicago, becomes the first to shoot golf’s magic number since Stuart Appleby at the 2010 Greenbriar Classic. The others: Al Geiberger, Chip Beck, David Duval and Paul Goydos.
“He just did everything well,” playing partner Gary Woodland said. “He rolled the ball phenomenally. It was unbelievable to watch.”
Furyk overcame the windy conditions at Conway Farms in Lake Forest by making birdies on his first three holes – 10, 11 and 12. He completed his first nine in 28 shots, aided by holing out from 115 yards on No. 15.
He had a three-putt bogey on No. 5 but made birdies on the seventh and ninth to record a 31 on his final 9.
Asked if this was the best round of golf he has ever played, Furyk replied: “Absolutely. It’s really hard to get under 60. It definitely played some tricks with my head on the way in.”
The five other players who have shot 59s on the PGA Tour are Americans Al Geiberger (1977 Memphis Classic), Chip Beck (1991 Las Vegas Invitational), David Duval (1999 Bob Hope Classic) and Paul Goydos (2010 John Deere Classic) as well as Australian Stuart Appleby (2010 Greenbrier Classic).