Jim Furyk made history on Friday at the 2013 BMW Championship, becoming just the sixth player ever on the PGA Tour to break 60, carding the holy grail of golf -- a 59. Going off the back side at Conway Farms, Furyk stormed out to a 28 on his first nine holes -- the second time that's happened in as many tournaments, with Phil Mickelson opening the Deutsche Bank Championship with a 28 at TPC Boston two weeks ago.
There have been mutliple runs at breaking 60 this year, including close calls by both Mickelson (at TPC Scottsdale and TPC Boston) and Tiger Woods (at Firestone). Tiger finished with a 61 when it appeared for a moment that he might become the first ever to shoot 58, and Phil's attempt came up one revolution short on the 18th green in Phoenix.
Furyk was an astounding 11-under through his first 13 holes, needing only one birdie coming in on his last five to break 60 on the par-71 Lake Forest layout. Given the easier and shorter par-4s and a par-5 ahead of him, it seemed that Furyk was more on "58 watch" than regular old #59watch. But a three-putt bogey on the fifth hole, his 14th of the day, dealt a big blow, as it's exceedingly difficult to break 60 with any blemish like that on the card.
Furyk, however, rallied with birdies on two of his final three holes to finish with the magical number. He went for it in two on the par-5 eighth hole, but his ball landed short in a grass bunker, forcing a difficult up-and-down. He put his birdie putt past the hole, but made a clutch save coming back to keep his chances alive.
That set up the drama for his final hole, where he needed a birdie to join the exclusive club of PGA Tour "59s." The ninth hole at Conway Farms is a relatively short par-4, and Furyk striped his drive into the middle of the fairway. With wedge in hand, he stuck his approach shot to a couple feet and took much of the nerviness of a moderate-length putt out of the equation.
Furyk hits it stiff. Short putt for 59. https://t.co/xB2V7RjyZu— Eye on Golf (@EyeOnGolf) September 13, 2013
Furyk's had his share of heartbreak on the final green of competitions in recent years, including in this city just a year ago when he blew a Ryder Cup singles match on Sunday against Sergio Garcia. But that approach shot left little doubt, and the veteran with one of the funkiest swings in golf history steadily stroked it in for the 59.
Wooooo 59 https://t.co/q8JHIwFZcv— Brian Floyd (@BrianMFloyd) September 13, 2013
This wasn't your typical course setup that was yielding lots of numbers in the mid-to-low-60s, with the wind up and challenging the best players in the world all day. The course, which has never hosted a PGA Tour event, was playing much more difficult than it did on Thursday. Most rounds settled near even-par, and the next closest round to Furyk's 59 was a 6-under 65.
He joins this group of players to break 60:
Stuart Appleby -- TPC Old White, 2010
Paul Goydos -- TPC Deere Run, 2010
David Duval -- PGA West Palmer Course, 1999
Chip Beck -- Sunrise GC, 1991
Al Geiberger -- Colonial CC (Memphis), 1977
Here's a snapshot of Furyk's historic scorecard, via PGATour.com:
It may not hold the importance of winning a major, which Furyk has done in this very city. He nearly added a second major last year at Olympic, and then again at Oak Hill in the PGA this season. Those near-misses crushed the likely Hall of Famer who is in the sunset of his career, but on Friday, he joined a more exclusive club, which should definitely ease the pain of those recent disappointments.