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Inside Michael Feagles' opening-round 59 at BMW Charity Pro-Am

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GREER, SOUTH CAROLINA - JUNE 08: Michael Feagles poses with a ball after posting a score of 59 during the first round of the BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by TD SYNNEX at Thornblade Club on June 08, 2023 in Greer, South Carolina. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

GREER, SOUTH CAROLINA - JUNE 08: Michael Feagles poses with a ball after posting a score of 59 during the first round of the BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by TD SYNNEX at Thornblade Club on June 08, 2023 in Greer, South Carolina. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Ninth sub-60 score in Korn Ferry Tour history

    Written by Staff @PGATOUR

    Michael Feagles knew he had a good round going, but after missing an eagle putt on his 14th hole of the opening round of the BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by TD SYNNEX, he admittedly “dropped the thought.”

    Perhaps he just needed to let it go to make it happen.

    Feagles finished with a flurry at Thornblade Club, as the tap-in birdie at No. 5 was the first of five consecutive closing birdies Thursday. With a curling left-to-right 25-footer at the par-3 ninth, his final hole of the day, he carded 12-under 59 to begin the BMW Charity Pro-Am.

    It marks the Korn Ferry Tour’s ninth sub-60 score and second of the season; Mac Meissner shot 59 in the opening round of the LECOM Suncoast Classic.

    Michael Feagles cards a 59 at BMW Charity Pro-Am

    Feagles’ season had been slow up until this point; a T25 at the Astara Chile Classic marks his best finish, and he arrived in the South Carolina Upstate at a distant No. 143 on the season-long standings. But one week can spark a summer – or in a case like this, perhaps just one round.

    “If you kind of look at my scores as of late, you probably wouldn't see me doing this, but like it's just been golf,” Feagles said after signing for 59. “Honestly, golf's just been doing it to me. Certain weeks, parts of my game will feel really good and other parts will feel like I literally never played before … so that’s difficult, but I finally feel like I’m piecing it all together. Obviously I pieced it together really well today.

    “The first thing (on the putt for 59) was, ‘Don’t leave it short.’ I knew I couldn’t leave it short. If I left it short, I would probably hate myself forever. And then the other thing was just like essentially what I've been thinking all day, like the thought I've been having of getting the clubface as square as I could at address and ... my process. It never was like, ‘Oh, no, this is for 59.’ It was basically just like, ‘OK, this is the line, hit it here and hopefully it goes in.’ It wasn't anything different.”

    Despite the early-season struggles, Feagles teed it up Thursday at Thornblade Club with good vibes. He’s playing this week with good buddy Kevin Ellis, and he enjoyed “probably like three cups of coffee” pre-round, along with some fruit and eggs.

    His round included twice as many birdies as pars. He estimated that nine of his 12 birdies were from inside 5 feet; he couldn’t recall a single shot of which he was dissatisfied.

    After his birdie on 5, he stuffed approaches inside 3 feet on Nos. 6 and 7. From there, he knew he was two birdies away from attaining golf’s magic number for the first time – his previous best score in a casual round was 60, he said, and 61 in a tournament.

    He birdied 8 and then struck a crisp mid-iron on 9, the ball settling some 25 feet past the hole. From there, it was showtime.

    “But honestly, like until the actual ball went in the hole, I was like, ‘I don't think this is going to happen,’ like, ‘There's no way this happens, right?’” Feagles said. “People don't just shoot 59. And it did, yeah. Feeling great, feel great. Never really had a chance to shoot 59; that was like my first real chance, so I'm 1-for-1.”

    Then he chuckled as he provided a suggestion for the Korn Ferry Tour content team.

    “If I'm getting on a heater early, you guys better go follow,” Feagles said, “because I'll probably do it again, 2-for-2.”

    Michael Feagles' interview after Round 1 of the BMW Charity Pro-Am

    Feagles hit nine of 13 fairways Thursday, 16 of 18 greens in regulation and needed just 23 putts.

    This becomes the third Korn Ferry Tour season with multiple sub-60 rounds (1998, 2013); prior to this season, the most recent sub-60 score was Sam Saunders’ opening-round 59 at the 2017 Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance.

    Just two players have carded a sub-60 score in a Korn Ferry Tour event and proceeded to win the event (Jason Gore at 2005 Cox Classic; Stephan Jaeger at 2016 Ellie Mae Classic at TPC Stonebrae).

    Feagles wouldn’t mind becoming the third.

    “I love being in contention in golf tournaments,” Feagles said. “That's like my favorite thing ever … those nerves and pressure, I think, is cool. It's a privilege to feel that and come down these fairways and have people watching you and cheering you on and being in contention for a golf tournament. It's great. I'm excited for the rest of the week.”

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