Justin Rose’s victory in the U.S. Open was the talk of the golf world on Sunday, as it should have been. After all, its not every day a man breaks through by edging Phil Mickelson in the final round of the U.S. Open (even if it has happened six times now). Still, what Rose achieved may be no more buzzworthy than what a golfer named Zach Adams pulled off last week in South Carolina.
While Rose deserves all the plaudits he receives, he can’t overshadow what Adams accomplished, shooting a remarkable 58 across 18 holes. That’s a remarkable achievement, yet it’s the age of the two golfers that makes it all the more unbelievable: Rose is a relatively spry yet traditional (by pro golfing standards) 32 and Adams is 9.
Yes you read that correctly: A 9-year-old carded a 58 on 18 holes in a recognized competition. As reported by the Charleston Post and Courier, that competition was a junior golf event -- the Mount Pleasant Junior Golf Open in South Carolina, to be specific -- but Adams’ 58 is a score that still puts him in rarified air. By comparison, David Duval is one of the few who have ever recorded a 59 in a competition before, let alone a 58. The lowest round Tiger Woods has ever recorded is a 61.
“It was pretty fun because I just kept on making putts and chipping it real good,” Adams told the Post and Courier. “The course was playing short and my putting was real good.”
Make no mistake: The yardage in the Junior Open is far shorter than that used in a professional event. The yardage Adams golfed across was 2,680 yards while the yardage at the Patriot Point Links course used for the event can reach upwards of 6,000 yards for a professional event. That shorter yardage means that par-5 holes on the junior course are approximately 215 yards long.
Adams was also helped by the pacing of his 18 holes. For the junior event, the 9-year-olds play a single full round across two days, as opposed to pros who play 18 in a single day.
Yet, even with the shorter distances and additional day, it can’t be underestimated how unprecedented the future fourth grader’s 58 was, even for Adams himself. The youngster had never scored below a 73 before, and used three eagles and eight birdies to reach the score at Patriot Point.
It’s still far too early to know if Adams will emerge as a bona fide links phenom, but his pedigree and early results certainly mark him as a prospect worth watching. His grandfather spent his professional career working in golf, and his father was a collegiate golfer at Winthrop. Together, the two older Adamses began tutoring Zach when was 3.
Now, six years later, he’s earning national headlines for a completely unheard of round in a big-time competition, at least by 9-year-old standards. So far, so good for the Adams clan.