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Sergio Garcia’s hole-in-one is official, dual 59s are not, in overseas golf tourneys

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Sergio Garcia rides an ace to a share of the lead in Thailand, while two golfers in South Africa card magical 59s but European Tour rules preclude them from entering the record books.

Stuart Franklin

Sergio Garcia, whose nearly 16-month winless skid has gone virtually unnoticed in the face of Tiger Woods’ and Rory McIlroy’s higher-profile droughts, scored an ace in Thailand to put himself on the brink of his first worldwide victory since he won the 2012 Wyndham Championship last August. And his eagle-1 on the 198-yard, par-3 eighth hole at Amata Spring Country Club during Friday’s second round of the Thailand Golf Championship is official.

That’s more than you can say for a couple of golfers playing in the Nelson Mandela Championship in South Africa, each of whom achieved a feat never before accomplished on the European Tour, only to learn their matching 59s won’t go in the record books.

Jorgo Campillo and Colin Nel went sub-60 within 10 minutes of each other at Mount Edgecombe Country Club in Durban and their scores helped them to get to T1 and T24, respectively. They won’t go down in history as the first and second Euro Tour golfers ever to hit the magic number because they played their soggy second rounds in the rain-delayed tourney under rules that allowed them to lift, clean, and place their balls.

Under tour mandates, the preferred-lie edict makes the round unofficial. So while Nel and Campillo each went 11-under, they officially joined the ranks of golfers like American Peter Uihlein, who earlier in the year missed an official 59 by a measly couple of inches.

Ryo Ishikawa carded a 12-under 58 on the Japan Golf Tour in 2010, giving him the lowest professional score on record. Players have carded 59s 14 times on tours other than the Euro, according to UPI, with Jim Furyk the most recent Mr. 59, when he went 12-under in September at the BMW Championship.

But back to Garcia, whose ho-hum 65 gave him an 11 under and a share of the midway lead with reigning U.S. Open champion Justin Rose. On his ace, the 33-year-old Spaniard and Tiger nemesis couldn't see his ball roll into the cup, though cheers from the gallery let him know he had holed out.

"Yeah, wonderful day for sure," Garcia told reporters. "I saw the ball hit right of the green and it started rolling. I thought it’s probably going to end up close … We were saying ‘go in, go in’ and all of a sudden everybody goes ‘wow’ as I can’t really see the hole from the tee box.

"It was quite nice to see it happen."

Though without a W this year, Garcia has been competitive, recording six PGA Tour top-10s. He was confident about cadging that elusive 21st official global win.

"I feel like I played well both days. I probably didn’t make as many putts," said Garcia, whose girlfriend Katharina Boehm is looping for him at this week’s Asian Tour event. "Driving the ball very nicely and hitting a lot of greens and my short game has been pretty good, so overall I’m very happy with it."

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