Love flirts with 59, just like Dad
July 18, 2019
By Laury Livsey, PGATOUR.COM
- July 18, 2019
- Dru Love opened the inaugural HFX Pro-Am with a 60. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)
HALIFAX, Nova Scotia — The question to Dru Love following his round was a simple one: Do you know your dad’s low PGA TOUR round?
Without hesitation, he answered. “Sixty.”
“I wouldn’t say I’m a historian, but I’ve watched a lot of my dad’s golf. I knew he came close (to 59) a couple of times,” Dru said.
The dad in question is Davis Love III, and 25 years ago, at what is now known as the Sony Open in Hawaii, the elder Love stood over a 15-foot eagle putt at the 508-yard, par-5 fourth hole, his 13th hole of the day. He was 9-under. Davis at the time thought, If I make this, I have a shot at 59.
At the time, it would have been only the third 59 in TOUR history.
Love missed the putt, parred the next two holes, and although he had a birdie-par-eagle finish, he had to settle for a 60 at Waialae Country Club. “That’s the only time I lost focus,” Love told the Associated Press after his round, realizing how pivotal that momentary lapse in his routine was in his quest for a sub-60 score.
Thursday during the first round of the Mackenzie Tour’s HFX Pro-Am, Dru Love stood on the 17th tee at the par-72 Oakfield Golf and Country Club. He was 11-under at the time, ironically, a par-5 in front of him followed by the par-4 finishing hole. He clearly understood what a birdie-birdie finish meant.
“I knew if I birdied 17, I’d have a putt on 18 to shoot 59,” Dru Love said. After waiting for close to 25 minutes on the tee because of a backup on that hole, the former University of Alabama golfer hooked his drive into the trees. After chipping out, he hit his third shot into the sand in front of the green and, in his words, “fatted it out of the bunker.” Love then—ho-hum—chipped in for par. Like his dad, though, he let his thoughts wander more than he would have liked during the delay on the tee.
“I got a little bit ahead of myself, which I’m not mad about,” he said. “It was my first time I’ve been in that position, that close, to shooting 59.
“And there’s not a chance I can blame it on the wait on 17 tee,” Love was quick to point out, “because every single person had to wait today on that hole.” Still, he said he was “kicking himself” about his errant tee shot.
Love’s last-chance effort at 59 on No. 18 came up short—or, literally, long—when his second-shot, would-be-eagle approach went 15 feet past the pin and onto the fringe. Sixty was now the goal.
“When I walked up to the green, I knew [the putt] was going to break a little at the end, a tiny bit left. All I had to do was get it out of the fringe. It was straight down, right edge. I knew that when I walked on the green, and I knew that when I looked at it from the other side (of the hole). I just hit the perfect putt, and it went right in the middle,” said Love, who stepped toward the hole almost immediately after he struck the putt.
“I knew that was going in before I hit it. I had a perfect read on it. I’d been making everything all day. It was just one of those where you know it before you hit it. I just had to watch it,” Dru added of the putt that gave him a course record, a personal-best and a two-shot lead over Jared Wolfe going into the second round.
A 60 just like his dad’s.
In Hawaii 25 years ago, Davis Love III followed his flirtation with 59 with back-to-back 71s that led to a runner-up finish to Brett Ogle. Dru Love, who has yet to win a Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada event, will look to build on his opening-round score and put himself in position to win going into the weekend. He completed his round at 6:20 Thursday evening, and he’ll begin his second round Friday morning a little more than 13 hours later—at 7:55 to be exact.
“I would rather go late-early and play well the first day,” Love said, anxious to get up and go at it again. “If you play early and play super good, you have to wait all day long for your next round. If I could go right now and start my second round, I’d go.”
Both Loves have now shot 60s in PGA TOUR-affiliated tournaments. Unfortunately, in what turned out to be a World Golf Hall of Fame career for Davis Love, one tournament that got away was that January tournament in Honolulu more than two decades ago. There is nothing Dru would like better than to use his 60 as a springboard to a tournament victory, to do one better than Dad.
Davis Love III, undoubtedly, feels the same way.