Love shoots 59 at First Stage of Q-School
October 12, 2016
By Kevin Prise, PGATOUR.COM
- University of Denver alum James Love made 12 birdies in his first round of First Stage at SunRiver GC. (Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)
James Love had never bettered 62 in Tour-sanctioned competition, yet here he was Tuesday in the first round of First Stage of Web.com Tour Q-School, standing on the fairway of his final hole needing birdie to shoot golf’s magic number: 59.
It was much too early in the event to start feeling the typical nerves of First Stage. After making 11 birdies in his first 17 holes at the par-71 SunRiver GC in St. George, Utah, though, a whole new set of emotions started to come in.
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The Calgary, Alberta, Canada native embraced the feelings. After all, as he said after his round, how many chances do you get for a 59?
“I was definitely confronting the situation,” Love said. “I told my caddie on the last fairway, ‘You don’t get many chances, so let’s make birdie.’ There’s not much else you can do … I had a wedge in my hand and a front pin, and I knew I was playing good, so it’s like, ‘Why be nervous?’
“I was basically telling him all the way up the fairway, ‘I’m just going to make birdie.’ So I was definitely going for it.”
Sure enough, Love hit a wedge to 7 or 8 feet, leaving himself an uphill putt at a 59, and he drained it to post the magic number.
The anatomy of a 59. 👌— Web.com Tour (@WebDotComTour) October 11, 2016
Well done, James Love. pic.twitter.com/4qxI0PTHix
Love thought “maybe that would’ve been it” after missing a makeable birdie putt on No. 6, his 15th hole of the day. Needing to play his final three holes in 3 under, and with the treacherous par-3 eighth looming, a path to a sub-60 score seemed unlikely.
But he took care of business with a birdie on the ‘gettable’ par-5 seventh, then made a 30-footer for birdie on No. 8 before approaching the short par-4 ninth. From there, he embraced the moment and got the job done.
Three years ago, Love had a putt for 59 at his home club in Denver – Cherry Creek Country Club – before settling for 60.
The 2006 University of Denver graduate, who spends winters in Arizona, has made 68 career starts on Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada, recording six top-10 finishes including a victory in 2009. He has made 23 starts on the Web.com Tour, most recently in 2012.
Approximately a decade into his career as a pro, Love has refused to let his TOUR dreams fade away. His performance on Tuesday shows why.