NEWS

What's the record for most birdies in a PGA Tour event?

By T.J. Auclair
Published on

Players on the PGA Tour can never make enough birdies.
 
With the caliber of play out there, pars -- with few exceptions -- just aren't going to get the job done.
 
That makes it incredibly fun for fans because, for the most part, players have the green light to go at the flags.
 
That got us wondering: What's the record for most birdies made in a 72-hole PGA Tour event?
 
That record belongs to Mark Calcavecchia and Paul Gow with 32 each. And, get this, they happened in the same year.
 
 
Calcavecchia was the first to reach that number when he recorded his 32 birdies in the 2001 Phoenix Open. He did it with rounds of 65-60-64-67--256, 28-under total, at the par-71 TPC Scottsdale.
 
That mark was good enough for Calcavecchia to stroll to an eight-stroke victory over runner-up Rocco Mediate.
 
Gow, meanwhile, collected his 32 birdies at the 2001 B.C. Open with rounds of 69-65-66-66--266, 22-under total, at the par-72 par-72 En-Joie Golf Club in Endicott, New York. 
 
Shockingly, it wasn't good enough to win. 
 
Gow finished tied with Jeff Sluman at the end of regulation. Sluman would win on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff.
 
Three players in PGA Tour history have finished a 72-hole tournament with 31 birdies.
 
John Huston was the first to do that. It happened at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu at the 1998 United Airlines Hawaiian Open. Huston fired rounds of 63-65-66-66--260, 28-under total and seven strokes better than runner-up Tom Watson. 
 
Waialae played to a par 72 back then and is a par 70 for today's PGA Tour players.
 
The next player to card 31 birdies in a 72-hole Tour event was Phil Mickelson. The five-time major winner turned the trick in 2006 at the BellSouth Classic at TPC Sugarloaf in Duluth, Georgia.
 
You want to talk about domination? With rounds of 63-65-67-65--260, 28-under total, Mickelson finished a whopping 13 strokes ahead of runner-up Jose Maria Olazabal. 
 
One week later, Mickelson would win the Masters for the second time in his career.
 
Finally, Steve Stricker is the last player to score 31 birdies in a 72-hole PGA Tour event. He did so in the 2010 John Deere Classic at the par-71 TPC Deere Run.
 
Stricker had rounds of 60-66-62-70--258, 26 under, for a two-stroke victory over Paul Goydos.
 
Interestingly, that "60" Stricker shot in Round 1 wasn't even the best score that day. Goydos was one better with a "59."