Jaeger shoots record 58, leads by four at Ellie Mae Classic
July 29, 2016
By Nick Parker, PGATOUR.COM
- July 29, 2016
- Stephan Jaeger made 12 birdies and six pars on a magical afternoon at TPC Stonebrae. (Ryan Young/PGA TOUR)
HAYWARD, Calif. – Stephan Jaeger made golf history during Thursday’s opening round of the Web.com Tour’s Ellie Mae Classic at TPC Stonebrae.
The 27-year-old, playing at host TPC Stonebrae Country Club, recorded 12 birdies on the par-70 layout for a record-setting 58, which bettered the previous low of 59, recorded six times on the PGA TOUR, five times on the Web.com Tour and once on PGA TOUR Champions.
Jaeger, a native of Germany, opened his day on the back nine at TPC Stonebrae with a par-birdie-par stretch before going on a five-hole tear, notching birdies on Nos. 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17 to turn in 6-under 29.
Staring at the possibility of matching or even bettering golf’s magic number of 59 on his inward nine, Jaeger did his best to keep his mind focused.
“Well, you just try to get your mind off of things,” he said. “That number is going to come in your head. It pretty much was in my head the whole back nine.”
Stephan Jaeger shoots record 12-under 58 at the Ellie Mae Classic
If Jaeger’s mind was drifting to golf’s record books, he failed to show it early on the closing nine, posting birdies on Nos. 1 and 2 (his 10th and 11th) to vault to 8-under-par through 11 holes on the day.
Birdies on the par-3 fourth and the par-4 fifth pushed him further into the red at 10-under-par with four holes to play.
On the docile par-3 sixth, he hit his tee shot to 5 feet to set up a kick-in birdie, in turn moving to 11-under for the round and within striking distance of a sub-60 performance with just three holes to go.
“I don’t care who you are. I think that goes through your mind. If it’s a practice round or whatever, it goes through your mind,” said Jaeger. “I knew I had a couple hard holes coming in. Nos. 7 and 8 aren’t easy, but I hit good tee shots on both of them and kind of got unlucky on No. 7 and made a good up-and-down there. On No. 8, I had a good 30-footer and lagged it to 3 inches, so that kind of took the pressure off a little bit.”
You never know when it's going to be your day ... pic.twitter.com/aduuSpNe4G— Web.com Tour (@WebDotComTour) July 29, 2016
Solid pars brought Jaeger to the par-5 ninth at TPC Stonebrae, where a perfect 3-wood off the tee gave way to an ideal layup to 95 yards into his final hole of a record-breaking round.
With a wedge in hand, Jaeger – still cognizant of protecting his shot at 59 – hit his third to 10 feet to set up what would ideally be a great two-putt to tie the all-time Web.com Tour record, but could still possibly give way to a closing birdie for a 12-under 58.
“We had a good strategy for that hole,” he said. “I was going to play it as a three-shot hole and take the bunker out of play off the tee and at worse make par.”
With a strategy of securing par, Jaeger did one better, converting one last birdie try for the day to post 12-under 58 while etching his name in golf’s record books.
“Everything went well. I was driving the ball well. I was making everything. I got the good breaks,” he said. “Fifty-eight (58), you can’t say anything. That’s all the bad I can say about it, but other than that, everything went my way. Even the bad shots you’d get a good bounce and have 15 feet and make that. It was just a blackout round, it really was. Those don’t happen too often.”
Entering Thursday’s opening round, the Web.com Tour record books allowed for five players to share the Tour-best number of 59. Notah Begay III, Doug Dunakey, Jason Gore, Will Wilcox and Russell Knox all shared in the limelight of golf’s elusive round alongside six PGA TOUR players and Kevin Sutherland on PGA TOUR Champions.
“Right now I’m actually kind of happy to be done, to be honest with you. It’s very stressful for you,” said a relieved Jaeger after his round. “It’s kind of like going on the back nine on Sunday. I’m happy I performed the way I did. It was the icing on the cake, the last hole obviously.”
Jaeger’s stats for the day mirrored those of someone playing well, with 15 of 18 greens hit in regulation, 12 of 13 fairways hit in regulation, and just 23 putts required to grab a four-shot lead over Rhein Gibson, Josh Teater and Xander Schauffele through round one.
Jaeger entered the week at No. 102 on the Web.com Tour money list with $31,793 in earnings. The former University of Tennessee-Chattanooga golfer has posted two top-25 finishes in 10 starts, including a season-best T11 at the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship last month.
Jaeger turned professional in 2012 and competed on the Web.com Tour in 2013, where he lost his card after just one season. He returned to Q-School in the fall of 2014, earning status for the 2015 season. He entered the 2016 season with conditional status after finishing No. 86 on the Tour’s money list last year.
The 2011 Southern Conference Golfer of the Year finished the day on a high, but immediately found perspective, citing the need for three more rounds of solid play to resurrect a year that currently has him on the outside looking in for the season-ending Web.com Tour Finals.
“Your expectations (have) got to be lowered a little bit. You can’t expect to shoot 58 every time you play. I’m obviously playing good, but I’m going to keep grinding away,” said Jaeger. “Some days it’s going to be harder and some days it’s going to be easier. It’s the first round and obviously it’s nice, but you have to focus on the rounds to come.”
History is made. Stephan Jaeger has shot 58. 🔥⛳️👍 pic.twitter.com/eCDJvCja3W— Web.com Tour (@WebDotComTour) July 29, 2016
* Thursday weather: Sunny with a high of 88 degrees and winds W-NW at 8-15 mph.
* This week’s purse is $600,000, with $108,000 going to the champion.
* Only one of the five players to record a 59 on the Web.com Tour went on to win that same week – Jason Gore at the 2005 Cox Classic.
* After posting birdies at four of his first seven holes out of the gate, Teater carved a 3-hybrid into 12 feet at the par-5 ninth hole, which he made for eagle, to go out in a 6-under 29. Teater’s first bogey of the day came at the par-4 10th, but he got that back at the 11th. With the lead in his sights, the Kentucky native admittedly got “a little too cute with a wedge” at the par-4 14th and left it in the front bunker on his way to a bogey. That only served to stoke the fires, as he made birdie on his next three holes on the way to a 62.
* Xander Schauffele arrived on the heels of a career-best third-place finish at the Utah Championship last week, and picked up right where he left off Thursday with a career-best 62 that included zero bogeys. The former San Diego State Aztec reeled off birdies at Nos. 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 12, 16 and 17 on his way to tying Teater for the clubhouse lead after the morning wave before Jaeger stole the show in the afternoon wave.
Schauffele surged into third a week ago in Utah courtesy of the best final round of the day – a 6-under 65. The $44,200 payday helped him move up 46 spots on the Web.com Tour money list to No. 43, which should secure his bid into the Web.com Tour Finals and guarantee Web.com Tour membership for next year if he can’t ultimately earn one of the 50 PGA TOUR cards given out through the Regular Season and Finals money lists.
* With a torn ligament in his wrist, Bhavik Patel, No. 27 on the Web.com Tour money list, was forced to withdraw after the first round at last week’s Utah Championship. Patel, a Bakersfield, California native, flew home and rehabbed the wrist all weekend in hopes of being able to play this week. Although he wasn’t sure if he’d be able to or not, he ultimately decided to drive up to the East Bay and see if he could tough it out. That proved prudent Thursday as Patel, despite not getting in a practice round, fired a bogey-free, 7-under 63 in which he didn’t miss a green.
* Ryan Brehm briefly took the solo lead in the morning wave at 8-under through his first 17 holes, but the former Michigan State golf coach yanked his tee ball left into a bush on No. 18 and had to re-tee on his way to a double bogey, signing for an opening 6-under 64.
* World No. 1-ranked amateur Maverick McNealy, a rising senior at Stanford University, opened with a 3-under 67 on Thursday. Starting on the back nine, McNealy opened with four pars before a double bogey on the par-4 14th, but the Jack Nicklaus Award finalist poured in birdies on five of his final 13 holes to post a 3-under 67. McNealy has made the cut in three of four career PGA TOUR starts. This week is his first career Web.com Tour start.
* Amateur Joshua McCarthy, a Pepperdine signee, won the Ellie Mae Classic junior qualifier at TPC Stonebrae a month ago to earn entry into the field and McCarthy proved his mettle again Thursday with a 3-under 67.
* Former University of California-Berkeley golfers Brandon Hagy (65), Peter Tomasulo (68), Charlie Wi (71) and Max Homa (72) each have returned to the Bay Area this week.
* There are a number of Bay Area residents in the field this week, with Maverick McNealy and amateur Joshua McCarthy leading the contingent after a pair of first-round 67s: McNealy (Portola Valley) – 67, McCarthy (Danville) – 67, Andre De Decker (Menlo Park (69), Shotaro Ban (San Jose) – 71, Kurt Kitayama (Chico) – 71, and Alex Franklin – 71.
* 2015 Ellie Mae Classic winner Si Woo Kim was one shot back a year ago after 18 holes, posting a first-round 4-under 66. In six previous editions of this tournament, the first-round leader has never gone on to win the tournament.
* Two-time PGA TOUR winner Fabian Gomez, who won the 2015 FedEx St. Jude Classic and 2016 Sony Open after graduating from the Web.com Tour in 2014, previously held the course record here at TPC Stonebrae with a 10-under 60 in the second round of the 2014 Ellie Mae Classic at TPC Stonebrae.
* The par-4 13th hole played as the most difficult Thursday with a scoring average of 4.381. The easiest hole was the par-5 third, which at 625 yards, played to a stroke average of 4.394.
Bogey Free Rounds:
R1: Stephan Jaeger (58), Rhein Gibson (62), Xander Schauffele (62), Bhavik Patel (63), Adam Mitchell (64), Brandon Hagy (65), Mackenzie Hughes (67), Rick Lamb (69)
Front (36) Back (36) Total (72) R1 33.806 35.452 69.258