The anatomy of a 60
Paul Goydos breaks down his 12-under round from the 3M Championship
August 09, 2017
By Bob McClellan, Special to PGATOUR.COM
Paul Goydos judges breaking putt to perfection at 3M ChampionshipIn the final round of the 2017 3M Championship, Paul Goydos buries his 20-foot birdie putt on the par-4 11th hole.
Every year on every tour there are improbably low rounds, outliers, scores that jump out at anyone scrolling down a list on a web page.
They don’t always lead to victory, though, as Paul Goydos can attest.
The 53-year-old Californian had one of those rounds at the PGA TOUR’s John Deere Classic in 2010. He became the fourth man in PGA TOUR history to shoot a 59 when he did it in the first round, with 12 birdies and six pars at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois. But he couldn’t make it stand up because of Steve Stricker, who set a tournament record with a 72-hole total of 26-under 258 to beat Goydos by two strokes.
Seven years later, on PGA TOUR Champions, Goydos went improbably low again. In fact, he shot 12 under again, but this time on a par-72 course in the 3M Championship at TPC Twin Cities in Blaine, Minnesota. His 60 came in the second round, not the first, and it put him in a tie for the lead with Kenny Perry and Gene Sauers. It also came with only one round to go in the three-round event.
But this time, even with Perry, Sauers and of all people Stricker lurking, Goydos managed to parlay the 60 into a victory, beating Sauers on the first hole of a sudden death playoff.
He owes the victory to his second round. After a ho-hum 70 left him five shots behind leaders Perry and Mike Goodes, there were 28 players between him and the top of the board. By the time he finished on Saturday, there were none.
Here is how Goydos got it done, in his own words:
“The weather was perfect; you couldn’t ask for a better day. There’s still some moisture on the greens so you’re going to control the golf ball on the green, if you drive it in the fairway. So you knew you had to shoot a good score. …
“I struggled putting all year. And the first hole, I kind of hit an OK drive and then hit just a 12-handicap 7-iron about 15 yards short and right off the green. I’m thinking this is how I play, and I got it up and down. Hit a good chip and made a nice little 4-, 5-footer. And then, ‘bazinga’ from that point. I missed the birdie putt on No. 5 and I missed the birdie putt on No. 13, and the rest of them were just taking it out of the hole (Goydos had 16 one-putts). It was just one of those weird days. The whole key to that round was to stay completely out of your own way and whatever happens, happens. I did a pretty good job of that. …So I really turned 5 into 3 there. And again, those are the things that turn really good rounds into stupid good rounds.
“I made a good drive and a nice 9-iron and 10-footer on No. 2 after kind of butchering No. 1. And then 3, I laid up and hit a nice wedge in about 4 feet and made that. Now you’re kind of into your round and you’re going the right direction, things are going well. Those are the types of things that happen. Nice birdies on 6, 7 and 8. Again, birdieing 6, there are going to be a lot of birdies today. There are going to be a lot of birdies on 7 today, but 8, those are the birdies that turn 65s into 60s. Hit a 3-iron in there about 10 feet and made that. Five under on the front nine, that’s not bad. …
“I actually hit a bad tee shot on 10 but managed to make a par there. Then good shots on 11 and 12 for birdies. Then getting back to the luck factor. On 15, the fairway there has got to be, I don’t know, 60 yards wide, and I found a way to hit it in the left rough behind the tree, which is impossible. I didn’t know trees were on that hole. I really don’t have much. I’m thinking a really good shot will leave me in the right front of the green, and I hit a 20-yard hook out of the rough and hit hard, rolled up about 20 feet, and I made it for birdie. So I really turned 5 into 3 there. And again, those are the things that turn really good rounds into stupid good rounds. And then 16, 17 and 18, I don’t know, 15-footer, a 25-footer and a 20-footer, and they all went dead center.”
Goydos said his ball-striking was better in his 59, but, as “inconceivable” as it was, his putter was better during Saturday’s 60. He went out in 31 and his eagle on 18 allowed him to come in in 29 for the course-record 60.
Goydos won for the first time this season and the fifth time on PGA TOUR Champions. The victory vaulted him from 31st to 13th in the Charles Schwab Cup standings. He will defend his title in the next event, the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open, Aug. 18-20 at En-Joie Golf Club in Endicott, New York.