I'm not quite sure if there's a level beyond "the zone," but on Sunday at Salt Creek Golf Club in Chula Vista, Calif., 20-year-old Todd Baek tried his best to get to the elusive level, firing an unthinkable 11-under 25 on the front nine during a practice round.
Think about that for a second: 25 for nine holes of golf. Nine holes! According to UTSanDiego.com's website, Baek had three eagles (!), five birdies and a single par over his first nine holes to best the lowest nine-hole score in PGA Tour history by one shot.
Of course, the big different between Baek's front nine and the 26 accomplished by Corey Pavin during the first round of the 2006 U.S. Bank Championship is that the latter had something on the line. Sure, Baek was only playing for pride and the course record -- which he bested by two shots -- but that doesn't make that feat any less impressive. He still shot 25 for nine holes of golf, which is downright insane.
"I was amazed myself," Baek said on Monday. "It was like, 'What's going on?' We were playing for money, so my friends were giving me (crud) about it. They said you need to stop making birdies or you're going to walk home."
When you manage to go that low over a nine-hole stretch, your mind obviously starts to wander a bit. Baek clearly had 59 in his sights when he made the turn, however, even the pressure of trying to record the holy grail of golf was too much for him to handle. He came home in 35 (still a great score) to shoot 60 ... with a three-putt on the last hole. Ouch.
But honestly, who really cares. The twentysomething shot 25, which was one shot better than Rhein Gibson's best nine earlier this year when he shot 55 (29-26) during a practice round in Oklahoma. Give the kid some credit for his amazing feat. It takes some serious skill to go that low and not completely fall apart.