Calcavecchia sets record with nine straight birdies

McGrath/Getty Images
Mark Calcavecchia (right) made nine straight birdies on Saturday with his 15-year-old son, Eric, on the bag.
July 25, 2009
PGA TOUR staff

OAKVILLE, Ontario (AP) -- Mark Calcavecchia birdied nine straight holes Saturday in the RBC Canadian Open to break the PGA TOUR record.

In perfect morning scoring conditions at rain-softened Glen Abbey, Calcavecchia opened the delayed second round with two pars, then reeled off the nine straight birdies. His nine birdie putts were from 15 feet or closer.

With 15-year-old son Eric working as his caddie, Calcavecchia shot a 7-under 65 to finish two rounds at 8 under. He was five strokes behind leader Jason Dufner.

"It's just as opposite as you can get of last week," said Calcavecchia, coming off a tie for 27th Sunday in the British Open.

"It's just fly it right to the stick. ... You give the guys out here no wind and greens that are plugging, you're going to see a lot of low scores."

Calcavecchia broke the record set by Bob Goalby in his 1961 St. Petersburg Open victory and matched by Fuzzy Zoeller (1976 Quad Cities Open), Dewey Arnette (1987 Buick Open), Edward Fryatt (2000 Doral-Ryder Open), J.P. Hayes (2002 Bob Hope Classic) and Kelly (2003 Las Vegas Invitational). Hayes played alongside Calcavecchia on Saturday.

The streak ended on the par-4 third hole when the 49-year-old player's chip from over the green went 5 feet past. He saved par to remain 10 under, but dropped a stroke on the par-3 fourth after hitting into a greenside bunker and also bogeyed No. 8.

"I think adrenaline kicked in a little bit, even more than it already was," said Calcavecchia, the 1989 British Open champion and 2005 Canadian Open winner at Shaughnessey in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Because of the wet conditions, players were allowed to use preferred lies in the fairways -- just as they did in all four rounds last year in the rain-plagued event.

"The weather is unfortunate," Calcavecchia said. "Two years in a row here."

Calcavecchia opened with a 71 Thursday, then didn't make it onto the course Friday.

In the 2001 Phoenix Open, Calcavecchia broke the PGA TOUR's 72-hole record with a 256 total -- shooting 65-60-64-67 to finish 26 under at TPC Scottsdale. Tommy Armour III broke that record in the 2003 Texas Open, finishing at 254.

"Records are made to be broken," Calcavecchia said. "Could somebody make 10 in a row? Sure. ... It wouldn't surprise me if some guy whips out 10 birdies in a row sometime this weekend. Really wouldn't. These guys are good."

Calcavecchia has 13 PGA TOUR victories, the last in 2007 in the PODS Championship.

Eric Calcavecchia joined his father in the interview room.

"Pretty cool," the teen said. "It's exciting."

Hole-by-hole breakdown of Mark Calcavecchia's birdie barrage at the RBC Canadian Open
No. 12: A 195-yard par-3, Calcavecchia hit his tee shot to 3 feet, 7 inches.

No. 13: A 527-yard par-5, Calcavecchia laid up to 93 yards before hitting his approach to 11 feet, 9 inches.

No. 14: On the 443-yard par-4, Calcavecchia hit his approach from 164 yards to 7 feet, 6 inches.

No. 15: Another par-3, Calcavecchia hit his tee shot from 132 yards to 9 feet, 8 inches.

No. 16: One of the easiest holes on the course as a 517-yard par-5, Calc reached the green in two then two-putted from 36 feet, 8 inches.

No. 17: A 435-yard par-4, Calcavecchia's approach from 171 yards landed 11 feet, 3 inches from the hole.

No. 18: A 519-yard par-5, Calcavecchia reached the green in two from 228 yards out over water and had a chance at an eagle, but missed his putt from 10 feet, 11 inches before tapping in for another birdie.

No. 1: A 411-yard par-4, Calcavecchia hit to just over 4 feet before rolling in a TOUR-record tying eighth straight birdie.

No. 2: A 520-yard par-5, Calcavecchia again reached the green in two before two-putting from 27 feet, 7 inches.
Most birdies in a row in PGA TOUR history
Player Course Tournament
9 Mark Calcavecchia Glen Abbey Second round of 2009 RBC Canadian Open
8 Bob Goalby Pasadena GC Final round of 1961 St. Petersburg Open
8 Fuzzy Zoeller Oakwood CC 1976 Quad Cities Open
8 Dewey Arnette Warwick Hills 1987 Buick Open
8 Ed Fryatt Doral 2000 Doral-Ryder Open
8 J.P. Hayes Palmer Course at PGA West 2002 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic
8 Jerry Kelly TPC Summerlin 2003 Las Vegas Invitational.

"Man of many words over there," the father noted.