BROUSSARD, La. -- Brenden Pappas kicked off the domestic portion of the 2007 Nationwide Tour schedule in style on Thursday, storming to a sensational 11-under-par 60 at the $500,000 Chitimacha Louisiana Open presented by Dynamic Industries, the fourth of 33 official events of the season.
|INSIDE THE NUMBERS|
|BRENDEN PAPPAS THRU 18 HOLES|
Pappas' round had the magical number of 59 written all over it with just two holes remaining, but it wasn't meant to be. He left a lengthy birdie putt on the lip on the next-to-last hole, and then watched as his lob wedge from 140 yards on the final hole came up well short. The ensuing two-putt from 60 feet still helped Pappas record a Le Triomphe Golf Club course record and equal the lowest first-round score in Tour history.
"I threw up on myself with that lob wedge on the last hole," said Pappas, a 36-year-old native of Phalaborwa, South Africa. "I was shaking like a leaf out in the fairway. But it was still an incredible day."
Pappas began his round on the back nine, posting birdies on Nos. 10, 12, 14, 16 and 18 to make the turn at 5-under 30. He then reeled off six birdies in his first seven holes (Nos. 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7) on the back nine to move to 11 under.
"Let's talk about what I didn't do right," said Pappas, who hit 16 of 18 greens in regulation and needed just 24 putts. "I hit a bad shot on No. 5 and a bad lob wedge on the last hole. Every other shot was just how I pictured it. I made the putts I was supposed to make and three or four that I wasn't supposed to make. I just kept making birdies all day."
It wasn't uncharted territory for Pappas. Although his bogey-free round on Thursday made his previous Nationwide Tour low round of 65 seem a distant memory, he had actually faced the same situation during the final round of the 2003 Southern Farm Bureau Classic.
"I was 11 under playing the last hole that day and bogeyed it," said Pappas, who still managed to finish runner-up that day for his best PGA TOUR finish. "Making the 8-footer on the last hole today was important psychologically just to know I'm not going to bogey every time I get to 11 under."
Pappas was seeking to add his name to the short list of players who have shot 59 on the Nationwide Tour, including Jason Gore (2005 Cox Classic), Doug Dunakey (1998 Miami Valley Open) and Notah Begay III (1998 Dominion Open).
"When I made the putt on No. 12 to get to 8 under I knew I had a chance (to shoot 59)," said Pappas. "What actually cost me a 59 was on the par-3 sixth hole. My 7-iron from 190 yards actually jumped in the hole and then back out."
Justin Bolli, with a 7-under 64, stayed within shouting distance of Pappas with a stellar ball-striking round, hitting 17 of 18 greens in regulation. His only mistake was a bogey on the par-4 14th hole, but eight birdies were more than enough to compensate for the error.
"It was one of those days where everything felt easy," said Bolli, who celebrated his 31st birthday just four days ago. "You can never complain with a 64. I was pretty dialed in with my irons. It boiled down to just hitting good shots."
First Round News & Notes: Brenden Pappas' 60 equaled the previous best opening round on the Nationwide Tour, set by Jimmy Green at the 1998 Carolina Classic and Chris Nallen at the 2004 Gila River Golf Classic ... The previous course record at the Le Triomphe Golf Club was an 11-under 61 (when the course played as a par-72) by David LeBeck (2001), Mike Heinen (2002) and Wes Short Jr. (2003) ... Larry Mize, winner of the 1987 Masters Tournament, opened up with a 5-under 66 and is one of eight players in a tie for third place ... The scoring average for the first round was 70.181, with the par-4 14th-hole ranking the toughest at 4.375. The par-5 7th-hole was the easiest at 4.521, yielding 70 birdies and six eagles ... Three past champions of the Chitimacha Louisiana Open are participating this week, including 2001 champion Paul Claxton (71), 2004 winner Jimmy Walker (67) and 2005 victor Ryan Hietala (73) ... The first-round leader at the Chitimacha Louisiana Open has gone on to win just three times in the previous 15 years of the tournament, including Sean Murphy in 1992, Joe Daley in 1997 and Brett Wetterich in 2003.
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