We see a select few flirt with golf immortality -- know to many as "59 watch" -- each year on the PGA Tour and European Tour. A guy gets hot, strings together a bunch of birdies early and before you know it, we're talking about the possibility of a sub-60 round.
Legitimate 59 runs come along a couple times a year, but on Thursday afternoon, we had two high-profile names make a serious push in the span of 24 hours. Branden Grace flirted with the number at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship -- he was playing Kingsbarn, one of the three courses in the rotation -- when he went out in 7-under 29 and then eagled the par-5 16th to get to 12-under with two holes to play.
Even though Grace never managed to record another birdie, his 60 was good enough for an opening-round lead at one of the great late-season tournaments on the European Tour schedule. (Playing Kingsbarn, Carnoustie and the Old Course at St Andrews in the span of a week is as good as it gets.) If you want to know how good Grace's 60 was at Kingsbarn, the next best score from someone who played the same course was a 5-under from Gregory Havret.
Not to be outdone by the South African, Ryan Moore decided to make his own run at golf immortality at the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. The Las Vegas resident clearly felt at home in the desert early in his round when he opened with 6 birdies and an eagle in his first 10 holes and looked to be in great shape to go after a sub-60 round.
But like Grace, Moore ran out of steam down the stretch, bogeying the par-3 8th to finish the day at 9-under 61. Moore also had trouble distancing himself from the field and is currently one shot ahead of Brendon de Jonge.
With low scores and potential sub-60s to be had on both sides of the pond, there's a good chance we could see more of the same on Friday -- especially with near-perfect conditions in Vegas and Fife. Will we see a 59 before the week is over? It's not out of the question. When it comes to golf's "silly season," anything is possible.