Chappell joins 59 club, ties TOUR record with nine consecutive birdies
September 13, 2019
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
Kevin Chappell's 9th birdie in-a-row at The Greenbrier
Kevin Chappell, in his first PGA TOUR start in 10 months, has returned in spectacular fashion by becoming just the 10th player in TOUR history to shoot 59.
In Friday’s second round of A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier, Chappell threatened to shoot the lowest round ever recorded on the PGA TOUR when he sat nine under through just 10 holes on the par-70 Old White TPC course.
The former Valero Texas Open champion had just tied a 10-year-old TOUR record by making nine consecutive birdies and had his eyes on more history.
When he reached 11 under with two holes to play Chappell wanted to stay aggressive rather than protect his place in the record books.
“I told my caddie I wanted to shoot 57. I was trying to keep the mindset, keep the foot on the gas and attack,” Chappell admitted.
Ultimately he would need to make a nice par save on his penultimate hole after an average tee shot before facing a 10-foot birdie chance on his final hole to tie Jim Furyk’s TOUR record 58.
“I had a great look … maybe under read the putt a little bit. All in all, couldn’t be happier with where I’m at,” he said after the last birdie try failed to drop.
“I had it read a little bit more than my caddie did … Again, I'm functioning under a lot of adrenaline and I'm like, All right. I am going to trust you. The pace lacked a little bit, but to have a chance to shoot 58 is special and I may not ever get it again. I'm glad I had it.”
The 11-under-59 is the 11th sub 60 round in PGA TOUR history – Furyk has managed the feat twice – and is the second at Old White TPC course joining Stuart Appleby’s final round 59 from 2010.
Furyk set the record mark with a 58 in the final round of the Travelers Championship in 2016 having already shot 59 at the BMW Championship in 2013.
Al Geiberger (1977), Chip Beck (1991), David Duval (1999), Paul Goydos (2010), Justin Thomas (2017), Adam Hadwin (2017) and Brandt Snedeker (2018) are the other members of the sub 60 club.
Having opened with a 1-over 71 on Thursday there was no sign of things to come when Chappell started his second round on the par-4 10th and made a routine two-putt par.
Then he exploded.
He birdied the par-4 11th from 17 feet, 5 inches to start the run. Chappell then followed with eight more consecutive birdie putts: Par-5 12th (3 feet, 6 inches), par-4 13th (3 feet, 3 inches), par-4 14th (15 feet, 10 inches), par-3 15th (16 feet, 5 inches), par-4 16th (6 feet, 8 inches), par-5 17th (6 feet, 3 inches), par-3 18th (28 feet, 7 inches), and par-4 first (13 feet, 3 inches).
“The ball was just going in everywhere. I hit a lot of good putts. Maybe one or two putts that didn't feel right off the face that still went in the hole,” Chappell said.
“Any time you're making putts it's going to be a fun day.”
That run joined Mark Calcavecchia atop the TOUR record book. Calcavecchia made nine straight in the second round of the 2009 RBC Canadian Open. Eight other players in TOUR history have made eight consecutive birdies.
Chappell had the chance to make a 10th straight birdie and claim the record alone but failed to give his birdie putt from 23 feet, 6 inches enough power to reach the hole at the par-4 second.
But there was still plenty of time to chase the elusive sub 60 and birdies on the fifth and seventh holes, from 11 feet, 9 inches and 12 feet respectively, helped him there.
Incredibly Chappell is playing in his first TOUR event since last year’s Mayakoba Golf Classic in November.
Later that month, he announced he was undergoing microdiscectomy surgery on his back, leaving his return open-ended. His lone TOUR win came at the 2017 Valero Texas Open; later that year he participated in the Presidents Cup as a member of the victorious U.S. Team.
After his recovery from surgery, Chappell returned to competitive action on the Korn Ferry Tour, playing two events in late August. He finished T-62 at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship, followed by a T-51 at the Albertsons Boise Open presented by Kraft Nabisco.
“Ten months ago I was on the couch and couldn’t walk,” he said emotionally. “So many people had a lot to do with getting me back out here and getting me competitive.”
Chappell now sits at 10 under for the tournament in fifth place, three behind 36-hole leaders Scottie Scheffler, Robby Shelton and Joaquin Niemann.
CHAPPELL’S 59 BY THE NUMBERS
Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee – +1.613 (7th)
Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green – +4.915 (2nd)
Driving Accuracy – 8 of 14 fairways (T86)
Strokes Gained: Approach the Green – +1.860 (19th)
Greens in Regulation – 17 of 18
Proximity – 26’ 7” (T27)
Strokes Gained: Around the Green – +1.442 (10th)
Strokes Gained: Putting – +5.008 (2nd)
Putts – 24
Feet of Putts Made – 141’ 2”
Strokes Gained: Total – +9.923 (1st)
Kevin Chappell's par putt to seal 59 at The Greenbrier