By Will Wilcox, as told to Laury Livsey
MORE: Wilcox's scorecard
This has been such a dream year for me. From my first Web.com Tour victory at the South Georgia Classic to shooting 59 at the Utah Championship, I’ve had several dreams come true this season.
When I stood over the putt for 59, I really wasn’t that nervous. I don’t know why, although I think it has to do with the fact I’ve been practicing hard and working hard so it was a situation I had prepared for. Maybe I hadn’t prepared to shoot a 59, but I had prepared to make putts under pressure. Shooting 59 is huge, obviously and it’s something every golfer dreams of.
I played Willow Creek Country Club backward Sunday. We had to play two tees in threesomes because we didn’t finish the third round due to a storm the day before. So I began my round on No. 10, a par 5. I made four straight birdies to start my round, and that’s the way I like to begin a day. I just felt confident with what I was doing, and I was pretty relaxed.
With the conditions and the left pins, I was able to make some putts. Then I just kept making them. The wind wasn’t blowing much, and I was hitting it nicely.
I teed off in front of a few people who had gathered on No. 10, and I noticed as my round progressed that the spectator size was growing a little. I haven’t really gotten much TV time out here, but even the cameras didn’t bother me. I was hitting it fine, so the added attention wasn’t a big deal.
Looking back, I missed a really easy birdie putt on No. 7, my 16th hole. It was probably no more than two-and-a-half, maybe three feet. I hit just a terrible putt. So if I was nervous during the round, it came at my 16th and 17th holes. When I missed that short one on 16, I was nervous because I had three feet coming back for par. I also knew I needed to bury the putt on 17 to give myself a chance at 59 on my closing hole. But I made it, and that set me up for the finish.
For me, No. 9 at Willow Creek is a 7-iron off the tee and a pitching-wedge par-4. That’s a pretty nice combination. If you can’t hit the fairway with a 7-iron, I don’t know what to tell you. I hit the fairway, and then it was a front-left pin. So it was the perfect number for me with a wedge in my hand. I had perfect numbers all day. It was awesome.
Then came the putt. Again, I really wasn’t nervous. It was a right-edge putt, probably six or seven feet. I told the guys in the media center I didn’t think I could win until I won. Then I did, in Valdosta. I didn’t think I could shoot 59 until I shot 59. I did that in Utah. A few players came out to watch me on my last hole, including Jason Gore, who shot a 59 on this Tour himself. I appreciated that. There were a lot of hugs, and everything got really busy, even a little crazy. I had to do a Golf Channel interview, and I almost gave away the ball I made the putt with. The media official told me to put it in my pocket. He also gave my caddie, Tyler Olson, permission to keep his caddie bib as a memento.
As I stop and think about this day and this year, I know I’ve made a lot of changes in my life that have allowed me to do all this. I’m not out at night. I’m doing what I need to do. I’m going to bed early, I’m working out, I’m taking care of myself and I’m trying to be nice to people.
If this is the reward for that, then I’ll take it.