Rutledge caps week with tournament-low 64
By John Kim, PGA.com Coordinating Producer
ST. LOUIS – He might not be taking home the Alfred S. Bourne trophy, but Jim Rutledge left an impression that will be remembered a long time by golf fans at the Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid – and especially those that know Bellerive Country Club pretty well.
Rutledge, a Champions Tour player from Canada, set a blistering pace Sunday morning and went on to shoot the lowest round shot of the tournament – and one of the better scores ever at historic Bellerive – a 7-under par 64 that included five birdies on the front nine. (For context, the course record is an 8-under 62, set by Jim Furyk at the 2008 BMW Championship when the course played to a par 70.)
"We knew we had a good score out there because we put together some good stretches of holes," Rutledge noted after his round. "We just hadn't put it all together at once. But today was the day."
After the round, Rutledge stated that he didn’t play flawless golf on Sunday, but was still able to put together a bogey-free card.
"We hit it in a couple of spots there where we had some difficult up-and-downs, but we managed to chip it close and never had any real long putts for pars," he said.
Making his feat even more remarkable was that for the better part of two days, Rutledge looked as if he'd be leaving St. Louis long before the weekend play started. In his own words, he "floundered for the first 27 holes in the tournament" (Rutledge was 5 OVER as he made the turn on Friday). But then something clicked on the back nine of his second round, and he went 5 under on the nine holes including an eagle 3 on the 17th hole.
"We knew we shouldn't be going home from this golf tournament so early," he said. "And we just kicked it into gear. My wife kicked me into gear, you might say."
It should be noted that when his wife Jill wants to kick him into gear on the golf course, she doesn't have to go far to do it. For the last few years, she has also been his caddie.
"She put the pedal to the metal there and got me going," Rutledge smiled.
Rutledge jumped 29 spots up the leaderboard on the final day to finish in a tie for seventh.