Can you shoot a 61 and St. Andrews and still be disappointed? Of the 13,145 professional rounds played on the Old Course, no one has shot a lower score than what Ross Fisher did on Sunday during the final round of the European Tour’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. The only problem was that the 36-year-old Englishman looked like he might be going even lower.
Starting the day eight strokes back of eventual winner Tyrell Hatton, Fisher opened with seven birdies on the front nine to turn in 29, then made four straight birdies on Nos. 12-15 to put a 59 in his sights, a score never shot on the European Tour. A par on the 16th hole, followed by a nifty up-and-down par save on the 17th (see below) left Fisher needing to eagle the drivable par-4 18th to break 60.
After hitting his tee shot just short of the green, Fisher putted from 25 feet just off the green, leaving the putt on the low left side of the hole but just four feet away. Likely dejected with missing out on that bit of history, Fisher then became guilty of letting his guard down as he missed the short birdie try, too, to walk off with just a par for his 11-under 61. It still broke the course record by one stroke, but it wasn’t exactly the finish he had in mind.
"It was fun," Fisher said in his post-round press conference. "I got off to a fast start and made some early putts. Shame not to birdie the last, but I'm not complaining with 61."
Low scores were the order of the day as earlier Victor Dubuisson opened with a 29 on the front side and was also in the midst of a 59 watch, only to bogey the 16th hole and “settle” for a 63.
On the day 60 players were under par, five shooting 72s and three over par, with the stroke average at 68.76.
Fisher’s accomplishment came two days after Tommy Fleetwood shot a 63 to set the course record at nearby Carnoustie.