8am Round-Up: Justin Thomas becomes youngest member of '˜59 Club'
On-form Justin Thomas has become the youngest golfer to shoot a sub-60 round after following up his win last weekend by firing a 59 in the first round of the Sony Open in Hawaii.
Scottish No 1 Russell Knox also got off to a promising start in the second PGA Tour event of the year as he signed for a 64 to sit joint-fourth at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu.
But the day belonged to 23-year-old Thomas as he recorded just the seventh 59 in the history of the US circuit with a blistering 11-under-par effort in the company of world No 5 Jordan Spieth.
Thomas joins Al Geiberger, Chip Beck, David Duval, Paul Goydos, Stuart Appleby and Jim Furyk in achieving the feat and takes over from Duval, who was 27 when he shot the lights out in the Bob Hope Classic in 1999, as the youngest player to do it.
Starting at the 10th, Thomas opened by holing a bunker shot for an eagle, dropped a shot at the next before picking up five birdies in six holes from the 13th to turn in 29.
He also picked up three shots in four holes at the start of his back nine before finishing with another eagle, sealing his place in the record books by rolling in a 15-foot putt.
“It’s been a good week or so now,” admitted Thomas, who holds a three-shot lead over fellow American Hudson Swafford after a low-scoring day. “It was a fun day out there, it was the most I’ve ever had it rolling.
“My birdies were all very easy and I just had a lot of good luck and kept leaving it in the right spots.
“I didn’t drive it as well on the back nine, but I got down to the magic number and that’s all that matters.”
He added: “When I chipped in on 10 on my first hole for eagle, you can’t really think of a much better start than that.
“Once I turned on that front nine everything was coming pretty easy up until then so it was just trying to ride the momentum and keep trying to make birdies.
“When I was on the 18th fairway I started thinking about 59. I don’t know whether that’s a good or a bad thing but I just knew I was driving it well and if you drive it well, I hear you can make a lot of birdies.”
Knox, who signed for seven birdies, took to Twitter to heap praise on Thomas for his effort, writing: “Nice golfing @JustinThomas34 #59.”
Furyk, who shot his effort last season, also praised Thomas on the social media site. “Best way to follow up a PGA Tour win? 59!!! Not let down,” wrote the newly-appointed US Ryder Cup captain.
Spieth, the highest-ranked player in the field, opened with a 65, one less than Olympic champion Justin Rose and Dane Soren Kjeldsen.
It was a disappointing start, though, for Pail Casey as a 73 left him sitting second last in the 144-strong field.
Peruvian teenager Julian Perico leads after the opening round of the third Latin America Amateur Championship atClub de Golf de Panama.
The 17-year-old shot a career-best six-under-par 64 to sit a shot ahead of Guatemala’s Miguel Ordonez in the battle for a title that secures a spot into The Masters at Augusta in April.
Late entrant Paul Wardell upstaged some young guns to win the first Big Johnson’s Tour event of 2017 at The Renaissance Club.
On a cold and windy day, the East Lothian man carded a superb one-under-par 70 to claim a one-shot success in the Golf Finance Ltd-sponsored shoot-out.
He finished a shot ahead of host club member Neil Henderson, with Michael Patterson (72) and Bradley Neil (73) next on the leaderboard.
“Huge credit has to go to all 17 players for making the effort getting to the course through snow and also playing in the conditions,” said organiser John Henry.
“A huge thanks to Russell Smith and his team at The Renaissance for hosting the event at such a fantastic venue, where the facilities are second to none!”
The circuit’s next event is at Montrose on 13 February and anyone who like to enter should email [email protected]
Golf Victoria has signed a co-sanctioning agreement with the Ladies European Tour over the women’s event at the 2017 Oates Vic Open.
Being held at the 13th Golf Links from 9-12 February, the Oates Vic Open is currently the only professional event in the world that stages both men’s and women’s championships concurrently at the same venue.
“2017 promises to be another great year for the LET and we are delighted that our season will start in Australia with the Oates Vic Open,” said the circuit’s CEO, Ivan Peter Khodabakhsh.
“Our members are delighted to have the opportunity to compete at 13th Beach Golf Links, which is one of Victoria’s premier golf facilities, alongside players from both the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia and ALPG Tour.
“With both the men’s and women’s fields playing on the same courses, for equal prize money, this event promises to be a very special week in world golf.”
The creator of one of Scotland’s newest and most remote golf courses is set to share the story of its development with some of the sport’s leading international designers at a major conference.
The 18-hole course has been carved from the rugged and dramatic environment of the Ardfin Estate on the Argyll island of Jura by one of Australia’s foremost golf architects, Bob Harrison, at Design Masters: The Scottish International Golf Course Architects Conference.
Organised by the Golf Tourism Development Group, it is being held held in Inverness from 28 February to 3 March.
The 20th edition of the International Golf Travel Market (IGTM) will be held in Cannes this December.
IGTM is the world’s leading, global B2B event for golf tourism suppliers, buyers and media, with more than 1,300 visitors, 600 exhibitors, 400 tour operators and 100 specialised golf media expected to attend the milestone event.
Last year’s event in Mallorca registered more than 14,000 pre-approved appointments, the highest number of pre-registered buyers and 515 exhibitors.