Hurly Long returned to Lubbock and resumed Texas Tech fall-semester classes on Tuesday with a unique distinction: On Labor Day weekend, Long did something that even greats such as Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods never achieved on one of the world's most scenic and prestigious golf courses.
The Tech senior won the Carmel Cup in a playoff on Sunday, which was almost an afterthought to his landmark achievement Saturday -- shooting a course-record 61 at Pebble Beach Golf Links.
"It's just so, I want to say humbling, honestly, because for me to be part of golf history is amazing," Long said Tuesday. "I'm very proud of that. Where would you want a course record? I'd say Pebble Beach, so yeah, it's incredible."
Long broke the Pebble Beach record of 62 that Tom Kite set in 1983 and David Duval matched in 1997, both in Saturday rounds at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, which was called the Bing Crosby National Pro-Am when Kite did it.
Notably, Kite and Duval shot their 62s in sloppy weather that allowed players to lift, clean and place their golf balls. The day of Kite's 62, Nicklaus was quoted by the Chicago Tribune as saying, "We're not playing the golf course today. You've got the ball in your hand on every shot. The fire is out on this course when you can put the ball in your hand."
The day Duval carded 62, Woods shot 63 on what the Los Angeles Times described as "a water-logged course."
The weather was fine Saturday, so Long didn't get to improve his lies.
"The conditions were perfect," Long said, sitting in the clubhouse at the Rawls Course. "It was a beautiful day. I expected some fairly cold weather compared to here. ... That day, it was 80 degrees, warm in the morning already, not much wind. It was conducive to good scoring, for sure."
Long took advantage of it. He holed a bunker shot for eagle on No. 6, putting him at 6-under through six holes, shook off a bogey on No. 8 and poured in six birdies on the back nine. His tee shot on the par-3 17th stopped 40 feet short, and he made the putt, and he got the record with an 11-footer for birdie on the par-5 18th.
His Tech teammates got to see it, because was the last in the Red Raiders' lineup to tee off.
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He also made what he estimated as a 40-foot birdie on No. 1, a 25-f0oter from the fringe on No. 10 and three more in the 10- to 12-foot range.
"I would say I felt great putting," Long said. "I saw the lines well and the stroke was good. My speed was good. And anytime you make some 12-footers, that gives you some momentum."
The 5-foot-11, 145-pound Long, the son of an American father and German mother, was born and raised in Germany and has dual citizenship. His father, Ted Long, is a former European Challenge Tour player and now a teaching professional. His mother is a flight attendant. Hurly Long didn't come to the United States until college and spent one year at Oregon before transferring to Tech.
Even after Saturday's scintillating round, he had to birdie No. 18 on Sunday to finish 54 holes at 19-under and get into a playoff with Oklahoma State's Hayden Wood. On the first playoff hole, Wood hit his approach over the green and Long two-putted for par and the win.
"It was really special for me," Long said. "I set high goals for myself this year. I don't want to say a different mental approach, but I set some goals for myself for my mental game, and to come through and accomplish some of those goals, not only score-wise but what I want to do mentally, was really awesome and I was really proud of that effort."
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