59 at School
LA QUINTA, Calif. -- Here's how Harrison Frazar shot 59 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course on Saturday: He left a 15-birdie putt on the lip at 18 for 58.
It was that easy for Frazar (or at least it looked that way), who had 11 birdies -– seven consecutive at one point on the back nine -- and an eagle, 13-under par on another perfect day in this California desert. It gave him a 72-hole score of 24 under par 264 and a four-stroke lead with 36 holes left.
"I haven't made any putts in two years," said Frazar, whose two-year skid required that he had to go through stage two of the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament to get to this point.
"He’s been in a battle all year," said his instructor, Randy Smith, the head pro at Royal Oaks Country Club in Dallas, where Frazar once was a junior member. "I didn't see it coming. I don't think he saw it coming. He's been struggling with his putter."
Frazar, 36, said he began feeling more comfortable with his putting two weeks ago and he took advantage of virtually every birdie opportunity available to him on perfect greens, including a 40-footer with a big left break on the 17th green to get to 13-under.
"I'm not really quite sure what happened," he said. "I made no conscious changes, I just had perfect speed and felt very calm. It was very easy. Like I said, I hadn't made a putt in two years. It was time for one to go in."
It was the second 59 shot in Q school and the third shot in La Quinta during tournament play. David Gossett had a 59 at the Nicklaus Private Course at PGA West during Q school in 2000 and David Duval shot a 59 at the Palmer Course at PGA West in the final round of the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic in 1999.
Gossett's 59 was the only sub-70 round he shot and he failed to gain his PGA Tour exemption, a notion not lost on Frazar.
"Fifty-nine is something I'll always have," Frazar said. "But I've got two more rounds here. That's the bigger goal. I didn't really care if I shot 59 or not. I was just trying to make as many birdies as I could. I've still got two days left."