With Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts coming so close to a round of 59 at the Portugal Masters, David Taylor looks at other near misses on the European Tour and those who have managed the feat elsewhere
Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts came within millimetres of recording the first 59 on the European Tour at the Portugal Masters this week.
His 20-foot putt at the last shaved the left edge of the hole and with it went the chance of golf’s holy grail.
The 31-year-old’s round of 60 at the Oceanico Victoria Golf Club was the 19th time a player has missed out by one shot in the 42-year history of the European Tour.
The course is used to such drama with Scotland’s Scott Jamieson shooting 60 at last year’s tournament but the long wait for anything lower continues.
Amazingly, a 59 was posted twice at last year’s Nelson Mandela Championship but Jorge Campillo and Colin Nel’s efforts were ruled unofficial because they played preferred lies.
It’s a different matter on the PGA Tour however, which has seen the mark reached six times in all – the first famously by Al Geiberger at the 1977 Memphis Classic.
He stood alone for 14 years before Chip Beck matched him at the Las Vegas Invitational. Since then David Duval, Paul Goydos, Stuart Appleby and most recently Jim Furyk have joined the party.
Opinion is split on whose round was the most impressive but both Duval and Appleby’s efforts came on the final day of a tournament to take the title by one stroke.
Geiberger’s will always stand out however, being the first man to do it and in an era of wooden woods and bumpy greens.
Elsewhere, the Japanese Tour can go one better with Ryo Ishikawa shooting a 58 at the Crowns in 2010.
His 12 birdies took place on the 6,545-yard Nagoya Golf Club making it the lowest score posted on a major tour.
Compare this to the 7,249-yard Colonial Course where Geiberger made his breakthrough and it puts Ishikawa’s achievement in perspective but the record does officially stand.
This highlights the fact that so much depends on the course and conditions but the skill and concentration to post such scores cannot be underplayed.
So why have we never seen a 59 in Europe? Courses certainly appear better set for low scoring in the States and elsewhere, but with so many players coming so close, it can’t be long before the mark is reached.
What is certain is that whoever finally breaks the European Tour duck will have earned their place in history.
Tom Clarke joined Golf Monthly as a sub editor in 2009 being promoted to content editor in 2012 and then senior content editor in 2014, before becoming Sports Digital Editor for the Sport Vertical within Future in 2022. Tom currently looks after all the digital products that Golf Monthly produce including Strategy and Content Planning for the website and social media - Tom also assists the Cycling, Football, Rugby and Marine titles at Future. Tom plays off 16 and lists Augusta National (name drop), Old Head and Le Touessrok as the favourite courses he has played. Tom is an avid viewer of all golf content with a particularly in depth knowledge of the pro tour.
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