Georgia senior golfer fires course-record 58

By David Westin
Published on

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- When a senior amateur golfer has made 22 hole-in-ones, what's left to accomplish?

For Evans resident Roger Tant, that answer was easy: breaking 60 on his home course.

Tant did that last week -- with a shot to spare.

He fired a course record 14-under-par 58 at Green Meadows Country Club.

"I told my wife after I did that I'd give up every one of those (aces) for a round in the 50s," said Tant, who is 64. "I could not hit it any better (that day). And every putt went in the center of the hole -- dead center. It was one of those surreal days."

Tant, who missed five greens in regulation, had 17 one-putt greens. The lone green he two-putted was No. 6, where he missed an 8-foot birdie putt. For the round, he had 10 birdies, two eagles and six pars.

The 58 might not be just a Green Meadows course record. It could be the lowest official round a 64-year-old amateur has ever shot in the United States, but that is unclear at this point.

Victoria Student, a junior historian at the United States Golf Association, said in an e-mail that "we have no way of confirming that this is the lowest score shot by a player at age 64."

The round came in a seniors group that Tant plays with three days a week, where everyone plays the 5,199-yard gold senior tees. On the other two days of the week that Tant plays, he hits from the 6,096-yard white tees. The course record from the white tees is 59 by Cleve Hillis (twice) while the championship tees record is 60 by Rodney Tapp.

Before his 58, Tant had come close to shooting in the 50s. He's shot 60 at Green Meadows "seven or eight" times in his life, including four times last year (once from the white tees). In two of those rounds last year, he had birdie putts on No. 18 that would have given him 59, but he missed them.

In his record round, Tant was already 6-under after nine holes with birdies on Nos. 2, 3, 8 and 9 and an eagle on the par-5 fifth. He nearly chipped in for birdie on the first hole.

"When we made the turn, I said, 'Roger, we can do it today,'" said Rick Masters, who has been playing with Tant since 2009. "He'd been close before. Sure enough, he finished it out."

Tant said Masters mistakenly wrote down 28 on the scorecard for Tant's first-nine score, and he saw it.

"That stuck in my head," said Tant, who was also playing with Ben Dietz and Eddie Evans. "I said, 'you can do it.'"

He ended up shooting 8-under 28 on the back nine with birdies on Nos. 10, 11, 12, 13, 15 and 16 and eagle on the par-5 17th.

That left him 14-under with the dangerous par-3 18th hole, which has out of bounds to the right, left to play.

"On the 18th tee, that's when I got nervous," said Tant, who could make bogey and still shoot 59. "I said don't hit it out of bounds and do something stupid," Tant said.

He left his tee shot 10 yards short of the green, chipped to a foot and made that for 58.

"It was like an out-of-body experience," Tant said of the round. "I don't know if I can explain it. It was such an adrenaline rush like I've never felt before. It was like it wasn't even me playing. It was like somebody else had control of my body."

"He couldn't miss nothing," said Masters, who was riding in the cart with Tant that day. "He was staubing his irons in there close and he's always good with his putter. He's the best player they've got at Green Meadows."

Masters believes Tant's 58 will be the course record at Green Meadows "as long as you and me are around. That's kind of special."

This article was written by David Westin from The Augusta Chronicle, Ga. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.