Will Wilcox became the fourth player in Web.com Tour history to card a 59 on Sunday, going 12 under on the par-71 Willow Creek Country Club course in the final round of the Utah Championship. Unfortunately, he came up one shot short of making the playoff that Steven Alker won over Ashley Hall.
Wilcox began his final round tied for 38th place, 10 shots behind 54-hole leader Chad Collins.
''It's huge, obviously,'' Wilcox said afterward. ''It's something every golfer dreams of, and on a par 71, it seems a little more attainable.''
Because the weather-delayed third round didn't end until Sunday morning, Wilcox began his final round on the 10th hole and birdied his first four holes.
''I teed off in front of a few people who had gathered on No. 10, and I noticed as my round progressed that the spectator size was growing a little,'' he told Web.com Tour Media Official Laury Livsey. ''I haven't really gotten much TV time out here, but even the cameras didn't bother me. I was hitting it fine, so the added attention wasn't a big deal.''
As he worked his way down the home stretch, Wilcox said, he missed what he called ''a really easy birdie putt'' on No. 7, his 16th hole.
''It was probably no more than two-and-a-half, maybe three feet. I hit just a terrible putt. So if I was nervous during the round, it came at my 16th and 17th holes,'' he said. ''When I missed that short one on 16, I was nervous because I had three feet coming back for par. I also knew I needed to bury the putt on 17 to give myself a chance at 59 on my closing hole. But I made it, and that set me up for the finish.''
It what might have been an ominous preview, Wilcox had double bogeyed No. 9 (his final hole on Sunday), in the third round. But it proved to be no problem for him as he closed out his 59.
''For me, No. 9 at Willow Creek is a 7-iron off the tee and a pitching-wedge par 4. That's a pretty nice combination,'' he said. ''If you can't hit the fairway with a 7-iron, I don't know what to tell you. I hit the fairway, and then it was a front-left pin. So it was the perfect number for me with a wedge in my hand. I had perfect numbers all day. It was awesome.''
Wilcox described his final birdie putt as right-edge, six or seven feet, and said he wasn't really nervous.
''A few players came out to watch me on my last hole, including Jason Gore, who shot a 59 on this tour himself. I appreciated that,'' he said. ''There were a lot of hugs, and everything got really busy, even a little crazy. I had to do a Golf Channel interview, and I almost gave away the ball I made the putt with. The media official told me to put it in my pocket. He also gave my caddie, Tyler Olson, permission to keep his caddie bib as a memento.''
Speaking of the ball, Wilcox used a Srixon TourYellow ZStar XV, making it the first yellow ball to join the 59 club.
Here is the list of the sub-60 scores in official events on the world's top-level tours that Wilcox has joined:
Ryo Ishikawa (-12), 2010 Japan Golf Tour, The Crowns in Aichi, Japan
Al Geiberger (-13), 1977 PGA Tour, Danny Thomas Memphis Classic in Memphis Tenn.
Chip Beck (-13), 1991 PGA Tour, Las Vegas Invitational in Las Vegas, Nev.
David Duval (-13), 1999 PGA Tour, Bob Hope Chrysler Classic in Palm Springs, Calif.
Paul Goydos (-12), 2010 PGA Tour, John Deere Classic in Silvis, Ill.
Stuart Appleby (-11), 2010 PGA Tour, Greenbrier Classic in White Sulphus Springs, W.Va.
Annika Sorenstam (-13), 2001 LPGA Tour, Standard Register Ping in Phoenix, Ariz.
Notah Begay III (-13), 1998 Nike Tour, Dominion Open in Richmond, Va.
Doug Dunakey (-11), 1998 Nike Tour, Miami Valley Open in Springboro, Ohio
Jason Gore (-12), 2005 Nike Tour, Cox Classic in Omaha, Neb.
Will Wilcox (-12), 2013 Web.com Tour, Utah Championship in Sandy, Utah
Masahiro Kuramoto (-12), 2003 Japan Golf Tour, Acom International in Ibaraki, Japan
Adrien Mork (-12), 2006 European Challenge Tour, Tikita Hotels Agadir Moroccan Classic in Agadir, Morocco
'Pardon the Interruption' co-host and longtime Washington sportswriter and radio personality Tony Kornheiser turned 65 on Saturday. For his momentous birthday, he got a pretty unusual gift – a round of golf with his PTI co-host Michael Wilbon and President Obama.
Obama spent more than four hours at the golf course at the U.S. Army's Fort Belvoir in Virginia, south of Washington, D.C., according to the Associated Press. There apparently was a fourth in the golfing group, but the White House didn't identify him (or her).
Even though Kornheiser customarily ends each show with a shoutout to Canada, Obama is a something of a PTI fan. Back in October of 2011, he taped a special message commemorating the show's 10th anniversary.
South Africa has several world-class golf courses, but the rest of Africa? Outside of Morocco, not so many.
The western Africa nation of Nigeria, however, soon will add the continent's newest high-end golf destination.
Construction has begun on a new championship course just outside the city of Calabar, the capital of Nigeria's Cross River State, that was designed by Thomson Perrett & Lobb, the golf course architecture firm founded by five-time British Open champion Peter Thomson. The layout begins in a dense plantation of rubber trees before moving into several valleys and up onto a ridge before it finishes alongside the Calabar River.
''We have worked very hard to ensure the course will fit seamlessly into the landscape,'' said TPL principal Tim Lobb, who is leading the design team. ''For example, we have marked the clearing lines by hand to give a natural looking edge, rather than the hole corridors being straight, and we have retained clumps of trees in strategic spots.''
Lobb said that he developed a routing that that makes the best possible use of the land's natural contours, and minimizes earthmoving.
''Calabar is less than five degrees north of the Equator, with a challenging tropical climate, especially during the rainy season, so enhancing the site's natural drainage channels will be key to making a course that's playable year round,'' he said.
Construction of the course should be finished by the end of 2014, Lobb said, with the opening planned for 2015.
The new course is part of a $200 million improvement project by the state government that incorporates an international-standard convention center, five-star hotel and a residential community.
''The Calabar International Convention Center, the golf course and the rest of the development will be a world-class amenity for the State, and one of the leading facilities in West Africa,'' said Liyel Imoke, the governor of Cross River State. ''We are delighted that the course construction is under way, and we look forward eagerly to seeing it completed.''
Nigeria has a population of around 170 million, but only about 50 golf courses and 200,000 golfers – so far. The new course will be just the second 18-hole layout in Cross River State, and its greens are made of dirt, not grass.
"An up-to-date standard golf course becomes relevant in an economy like ours in Nigeria, that is growing rapidly," Imoke told CNN. "We now see a new emerging middle class, what they used to call the yuppie class. The yuppie generation is here, and they play golf. If Calabar has something to offer, and they come to Calabar, then the people in Calabar benefit from that expenditure."
Ok-Hee Ku, a Korean pioneer both on the LPGA Tour and on circuits across Asia, died Thursday at age 56, according to the LPGA Tour. The cause of death was a heart attack at her home in Japan, according to published reports.
Ku became the first Korean player to win on the LPGA Tour when she triumphed at the 1988 Standard Register Turquoise Classic in Phoenix, and she played consistently on the LPGA Tour for several years from the late 1980s through the early 1990s. Before and after her stint in the United States, she was a consistent winner on the women’s tours in Japan and her native Korea.
She compiled 43 wins in Asia over a quarter of a century of competition and held the record for most wins in a Korean LPGA season with five until Jiyai Shin won seven times in 2007. She was the first player inducted into the KLPGA Hall of Fame, and served as the president of the KLPGA in 2011-2012.
''Ok-Hee Ku was a pioneer for women’s golf and a role model to players across many countries,'' said LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan in a statement. ''We are deeply saddened to learn of her death and offer our sincerest condolences to her family and friends. She made the world of women's golf a better place.''