Sam Saunders shoots 59 with PGA Tour card on the line

By The Associated Press
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Sam Saunders shoots 59 with PGA Tour card on the line

ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Sam Saunders, Arnold Palmer's grandson, shot a 12-under 59 on Thursday in the first round of the Tour Championship.

Saunders closed with six straight birdies at Atlantic Beach Country Club for the seventh sub-60 round in Tour history. Stephan Jaeger set the tour record of 58 last year in the Ellie Mae Classic at TPC Stonebrae in Hayward, California, and Notah Begay III, Doug Dunakey, Jason Gore, Will Wilcox and Russell Knox also shot 59.

Saunders had 13 birdies and a bogey. Opening on the 10th hole, he birdied the first three holes, added a birdie on 14, bogeyed the par-3 15th and birdied 15 and 18 to make the turn in 5 under. He birdied No. 2 and Nos. 4-9 for a 7-under 28 on his final nine.

The 30-year-old Saunders is trying to regain his PGA Tour card in the four-event Tour Finals after finishing 129th in the FedEx Cup standings. He entered the week 24th in the race for 25 PGA Tour cards with $27,900 in the first three events. He tied for 11th in the Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship, tied for 40th in the Albertsons Boise Open and missed the cut in the DAP Championship.

Matt Atkins and Steve Wheatcroft were tied for second at 62, and Tyler Duncan and Ben Silverman shot 63.

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