Before 2010, the number 59 was a few things. Nearly attainable. A pro golfer's dream. The pinnacle of the PGA Tour.
Now, eight months into this crazy golf year, it has become a score that is expected, not hoped for. Sunday, at the Greenbrier Classic, Stuart Appleby added his name to the history books, becoming just the second player ever to post 59 in the final round and win. He joined Al Geiberger, Chip Beck, David Duval and Paul Goydos as the only players to ever go sub-60 on this tour, and made it the first time it has ever been done by two people in the same season (to be fair, it had barely ever been done in the same decade).
Appleby's 11-under Sunday was good enough to jump seven spots and to win his first PGA Tour title since 2006, which he did by a shot over Jeff Overton at 22-under.
How good was Appleby's 59 compared to some of the others in history? Well, along with Goydos earlier this season, it was only the second to be done on a course that wasn't a par-72 and included three closing birdies to join the elite club.
His round got going on the par-4 fourth, where he started a run of five birdies in six holes. After pars on the 10th and 11th, Appleby made an eagle on the par-5 12th to move to 8-under for the day and then had the incredible close.
What may be the most interesting thing about this year is that before the season started, most critics were worried about low scores because the USGA had decided to change the groove requirements. I remember posting a story after the Mercedes Championship comparing the final scores this year to previous ones, but it obviously hasn't hurt anyone's ability to go low.
I will say this about 59s and 58s ... it sure makes that scorecard of that incredible 71 you once had on your wall look a little less heroic.
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