There was nothing evident from Paul Goydos' recent play to suggest that he had even a 69 in him, much less a 59. He hadn't broken 70 on the PGA Tour since May 29 and in his ensuing six rounds of tournament golf (albeit two of them in the U.S. Open) his scoring average was 74.5. He hadn't play well on tour since consecutive T5 finishes at the Northern Trust Open and the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in February.
At home, he hasn't fared much better. His USGA handicap index, which was plus-6.1 last November, has fallen to plus-4.0 (yes, he records his scores when playing at home in Southern California). It's still a good number, but not necessarily by tour standards.
Only those with local knowledge anticipated a breakthrough round (though surely not the 59 that Goydos shot in the John Deere Classic on Thursday), and no one has more knowledge of Goydos than Jamie Mulligan, his friend and teacher and the Chief Operating Officer of Virginia Country Club in Long Beach. Calif., one of the courses to which Goydos belongs in Southern California.
"That's been waiting for him for awhile," Mulligan said Thursday. "He's better phsycially in the last year than he's ever been, he just hasn't been playing as good as he looks. He's been playing really nicely, he just hasn't been getting it around really well. I thought the (U.S.) Open set up real well for him. He's played well at Pebble before. But he just didn't quite get it done. He had a weird couple of days.
"But it's looked like he was going to play good for a long time. Hopefully this will jump start him."
-- John Strege