Chappell fires rare 59 in return to PGA Tour

Kevin Chappell reacts after a successful birdie putt in his scintillating 59 at The Greenbrier (AFP Photo/Jared C. Tilton)
Kevin Chappell reacts after a successful birdie putt in his scintillating 59 at The Greenbrier (AFP Photo/Jared C. Tilton)

Washington (AFP) - Kevin Chappell made a scintillating return to the US PGA Tour on Friday, joining one of golf's most exclusive clubs by firing an 11-under-par 59 in the second round of The Greenbrier.

Chappell, who had back surgery 10 months ago and is playing his first tour event since last November, became just the 11th player to post a sub-60 round on the US PGA Tour.

He had a chance to join Jim Furyk as the only players to card a 58 on tour, but his 11-foot birdie putt at the ninth, his last hole of the day, curled left at the hole.

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"All in all couldn't be happier with where I'm at and more proud of myself to do what I did today," said Chappell, who finished the day on 10 under after 36 holes, three off the early clubhouse lead.

"Ten months ago I was on the couch and couldn't walk," he added, his voice breaking.

Chappell's 11 birdies included a record-equalling nine in a row -- matching the mark set by Mark Calcavecchia at the 2009 Canadian Open at Glen Abbey.

He teed off on 10 on the par-70 Old White TPC in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, and birdied holes 11 through one.

That included a 17-footer to get things going at the 11th and a near 30-footer at 18 before he recovered after finding the rough off the tee at the first -- where he drained a 13-footer.

After a birdie at the fifth, he rolled in a 12-footer from the fringe at the seventh -- his 16th hole of the day.

At that point, Chappell said, "I told my caddie I wanted to shoot 57, just trying to keep the mindset, keep the foot on the gas.

"I hit a poor shot there into eight. Last hole I had a great look at 58, maybe under-read the putt a little bit."

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