An astonishing European Tour record-tying round of 60 on Saturday has put England's Kenneth Ferrie just one behind Scotland's Paul Lawrie with a day to go at the European Tour’s Andalucia Open.
After making the halfway cut with nothing to spare, the 32-year-old was only a few inches away from achieving the magical 59 -- achieved five times on the PGA Tour but never in Europe.
2011 ANDALUCIA OPEN
European Tour star Miguel Angel Jimenez is the promoter of the Andalucia Open, which is played in his hometown of Malaga, Spain.
After an eagle and seven birdies in the first 17 holes of the par-70 Parador course, Ferrie needed to hole his 6-iron approach to the 449-yard 18th hole. From the right-hand rough, it trickled past the edge of the cup.
When he tapped in for another birdie, he had charged from a tie for 45th overnight into a three-shot lead with a 10-under-par round. But 1999 British Open champion Paul Lawrie then shot a bogey-free 65 to take over at the top on 12 under.
That owed a lot, however, to a man in the crowd. Lawrie, without a win since 2002, was heading for big trouble at the short 13th when his pulled tee shot struck a spectator on the back and rebounded onto the green.
Ferrie, who is tied for second with compatriot Mark Foster, wore a Superman belt when he led the 2006 U.S. Open after three rounds, but this is the nearest he has ever come to playing like him. He becomes only the 14th player to shoot 60 on the Tour without the help of preferred lies since Italian Baldovino Dassu was the first to do it 40 years ago.
The former European Open winner described himself as "ecstatic" about the round, but then was at pains to say there was nothing extraordinary about it.
"It was unspectacular, but it added up to a spectacular score," he commented. "You'd expect somebody with such a low score to have holed putts and hit spectacular shots, but it was just a very steady round -- lots of fairways, lots of greens and a lot of wedge shots to four or five feet which I managed to knock in.
"Some days you shoot 70 and you are doing cartwheels and are over the moon, but I don't feel I did anything above and beyond,” he explained. "I realized that if I finished birdie-birdie-birdie it would have been 59, but 16 and 18 are strong holes and if you get out of position on them you are going to struggle to make pars.
"My 6-iron at the last looked very good and when it landed I got a little bit excited, but I would gladly have taken 60 with three to play."
Foster, whose only Tour win came eight years ago, had six back-nine birdies for a 65.