Meet Stephan Jaeger: the Tour’s Mr 58

While the game’s superstars were competing in the USPGA, unknown Stephan Jaeger was creating history with a 58 on the Tour 3,000 miles away

Meet Stephan Jaeger - the first man to shoot 58 on one of the PGA Tour's three main tours
(Image credit: Getty Images)

While the game’s superstars were competing in the USPGA, unknown Stephan Jaeger was creating history with a 58 on the Tour 3,000 miles away

While golf’s superstars were contesting the USPGA at Baltusrol on Thursday, nearly 3,000 miles due west one man was creating a little bit of history that would steal just a few of the headlines away from the year’s fourth and final Major.

As Rory misfired badly in New Jersey, unknown and largely unheralded German, Stephan Jaeger, went on a record-breaking birdie rampage in the Ellie Mae Classic at TPC Stonebrae in California on the Tour to record the first ever 58 on one of the PGA Tour’s three main tours.

Starting on the back nine, the German, who ranked 102nd on the Tour coming into the week, raced to the turn in 29 courtesy of six birdies and no dropped shots, a feat he repeated on the front nine, even throwing in a three-putt par on the par-5 3rd before slotting home a 10-footer on the par-5 9th to create history.

Five players have shot 59 previously on the Tour, including Scotland’s Russell Knox in 2013, while several have shot 59 on the PGA Tour and a number of golf’s other main tours. That mark has still eluded everybody on the European Tour, though, where the record stands at 60, a figure officially achieved 18 times, with this year's Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke the only man to do it twice.

Jaeger, a psychology graduate from the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, originally hails from Munich. He turned pro in 2012 and finished 86th on last year’s Tour Money List, but thus far this year had missed three of ten cuts and recorded a best finish of T11th in June’s Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship.

“I don’t know what to say, I mean everything went well,” said Jaeger after his round, perfecting the art of understatement. “I was driving the ball well, making everything, got the good breaks. I mean, 58 – you can’t say anything! I three-putted one hole – that’s all you can say about it. But other than that, everything went my way. Even the bad shots, you’d get a good bounce and have 15 feet, and I’d make that. It was just a black-out round, it really was.”

For those fearing a kind of ‘after the Lord Mayor’s Show’ reaction on Friday, Jaeger did bogey his first hole, but then crammed in six more birdies to shoot 65 and head into the weekend on 17-under (five clear as this article went live) in the quest to secure his first Tour victory.

Jeremy Ellwood
Contributing Editor

Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly across the whole spectrum from courses and Rules to equipment and instruction. He also edits The Golf Club Secretary Newsletter, a highly regarded trade publication for golf club secretaries and managers, and has authored or co-authored three books and written for a number of national papers including The Telegraph and The Independent. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 91 of the Next 100, making him well-qualified when it comes to assessing and comparing our premier golf courses. He has now played well over 950 golf courses worldwide in 35 countries, right across the spectrum from the humblest of nine-holers in the Scottish Highlands to the very grandest of international golf resorts, but put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content.

Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf

Jeremy is currently playing...

Driver: Ping G425 LST 10.5˚ (draw setting), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 55 S shaft

3 wood: Ping G425 Max 15˚ (set to flat +1), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 65 S shaft

Hybrid: Ping G425 17˚, Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 80 S shaft

Irons 3-PW: Ping i525, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Wedges: Ping Glide 4.0 50˚ and 54˚, 12˚ bounce, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Putter: Ping Fetch 2021 model, 33in shaft (set flat 2)

Ball: Varies but mostly now TaylorMade Tour Response