Annika Sorenstam was either living a dream, standing on the moon or just hanging with her younger sister 15 years ago today.
This scenario may sound far-fetched, but on March 16, 2001, all were somewhat true as the World Golf Hall of Famer accomplished a first in women’s golf by shooting a 59 during the second round of the Standard Register PING in Phoenix, Ariz.
The course: Moon Valley Country Club.
Her playing partners: sister Charlotta and Meg Mallon.
The dream part?
“I have always dreamed about shooting 54 and here I was very close, and I didn’t really know what to expect and how to feel,” Sorenstam said a week after the round. “When people asked for my signature they want me to put 59 and it is a little unusual but I love it obviously. But it is going to take a while to sink in.
“I wasn’t worrying about anything. I would stand on the tee; I would just swing it. I would stand on the fairway; I was just trying to hit the green. I wasn’t worrying where the ball was going; same thing on my putting, I wasn't worrying about my second putt. I was just looking at the hole and that is what I was concerned about. I was so free in my mind, there was no excess or whatever you call it around me.”
As the LPGA resumes its schedule on Thursday at the JTBC Founders Cup, thoughts of the 59 aren’t far away. This week’s tournament site, Wildfire Golf Club, is 12 miles northeast of Moon Valley as a stellar field tees it up.
Sorenstam began her record round on Moon Valley’s back nine and made eight consecutive birdies to go out in 28. She birdied 12 of the first 13 holes she played that day and went sub-60 with a two-putt birdie on the par-5 eighth hole (her 17th).
Sorenstam joined five men who had shot 59 in official events on their professional tours – three on the PGA Tour and two on the Web.com Tour. Since then, that number has grown to seven sub-60 scores on the PGA Tour, five on the Web.com Tour, one on the PGA Tour Champions, two on the Japan Golf Tour, one on the European Challenge Tour and two on PGA Tour Canada.
Ryo Ishikawa shot a 58 to win The Crowns tournament in 2010 on the Japan Golf Tour and Jason Bohn also shot 58 to win the Bayer Championship in 2001 on the Canadian Tour. Two more men were seemingly in line to shoot 58, but Doug Dunakey three-putted the final green of the Web.com Tour’s Miami Valley Open in 1998 to shoot 59 and Kevin Sutherland made bogey on the final hole of the 2014 Dick’s Sporting Goods Open on the over-age 50 PGA Tour Champions for his 59.
There has also an assortment of sub-60 scores shot in unofficial events or on secondary tours, including Shigeki Maruyama’s 58 in a 2000 U.S. Open qualifier, John Hahn’s 58 at the 2014 European Tour qualifying tournament, Gary Player’s 59 at the 1974 Brazil Open (on a par-69 course) and Phil Mickelson’s 59 at the 2004 PGA Grand Slam of Golf.
Here’s a look at Sorenstam’s 59 in comparison to those on the PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions:
|Al Geiberger||PGA Tour||Colonial CC (72)||1977 Memphis Classic||Second||Won||1 eagle, 11 birdies. Began on back 9, made 8-foot birdie on ninth|
|Chip Beck||PGA Tour||Sunrise GC (72)||1991 Las Vegas Invitational||Third||T3||13 birdies. Began on back 9, birdied last 3, including 3-footer on last|
|David Duval||PGA Tour||PGA West Palmer (72)||1999 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic||Final||Won||1 eagle, 11 birdies. 6-foot eagle on 18 to win by 1|
|Annika Sorenstam||LPGA||Moon Valley CC (72)||2001 Standard Register PING||Second||Won||Started on back 9. Made 13 birdies, included eight consecutive to start round|
|Paul Goydos||PGA Tour||TPC Deere Run (71)||2010 John Deere Classic||First||2nd||12 birdies. Made 7-foot birdie on 18|
|Stuart Appleby||PGA Tour||TPC Old White (70)||2010 Greenbrier Classic||Final||Won||1 eagle, 9 birdies. 11-foot birdie on 18 to win by 1|
|Jim Furyk||PGA Tour||Conway Farms GC (71)||2013 BMW Championship||Second||3rd||1 eagle, 11 birdies, 1 bogey. 3-foot birdie on the ninth|
|Kevin Sutherland||Champions||En-Joie GC (72)||2014 Dick’s Sporting Goods Open||Second||T7||12 birdies, an eagle and bogeyed the final hole|