Sony Open fantasy notes-1st rd

Justin Thomas is still hot

Fresh off his victory at Kapalua on Sunday, Thomas continued his great play by joining one of the most exclusive clubs in golf, the “sub 60 club” as he eagled his final hole for an 11-under par 59. We can say exclusive because since the start of the 1970 season there have been 873,577 rounds played by 8,449 players in 2,138 different events (have included every British Open since 1970). So you can see how unique and special Thomas achievement is.
In the old days the club use to be called the “59 club” but last year at the Travelers Championship shot 58 in the final round, thus the reason for the name change.

  • At 23 years old he becomes the youngest member of the club.
  • Thomas 59 is only the second time it’s been done in an opening round (other was Paul Goydos, 2010 John Deere Classic).
    Thomas joins David Duval (1999 Bob Hope) as the only players to eagle their last hole for 59.
    Thomas joins Jim Furyk (2013 BMW) as the only players to shot 59 with a bogey on their card.
    Thomas is the only player to shot 59 with two eagles.

How did he do it?
Thomas hit 8 of 14 fairways, 14 of 18 greens and only needed 23 putts He made 13 of 14 putts from 10 feet and under and made a total of 102 feet of putts. Of his 23 putts his longest was 14 feet, 11 inches on his final hole for an eagle. Afterwards in the media center Thomas called it a “fun day” as he just had it rolling out there. ” I was hitting it well. All my birdies were easy. It wasn’t like I made any long putts or anything,” Thomas said of the day when his longest hole-out was a 35 yard pitch for eagle on the par 4 tenth hole, his first hole of the day. With the 59 he has a 3-shot lead over Hudson Swafford and this may seem hard to believe but there are ten guys that are within 5 shots of him, so you can’t just give him the trophy now. Matter of fact, of the previous seven that shot 59 or 58, only three of them have won Al Geiberger (1977 St. Jude Classic), David Duval (1999 Bob Hope) and Stuart Appleby (2010 Greenbrier Classic) have won.
So here are some of the stats of those that shot a sub-60 round on the PGA Tour:

  • 1977 St. Jude Classic                Al Geiberger 72-59-72-70, 15 under 273 to win the tournament
    1991 Las Vegas Invitational       Chip Beck 65-72-59-68-67, 29 under 331 to finish T-3rd
    1999 Bob Hope Classic             David Duval 70-71-64-70-59, 26 under 334 to win the tournament
    2010 John Deere Classic           Paul Goydos 59-68-67-66, 24 under 260 to finish 2nd
    2010 Greenbrier Classic            Stuart Appleby 66-68-65-59, 22 under 258 to win the tournament
    2013 BMW Championship        Jim Furyk 72-59-69-71, 13 under 271 to finish 3rd
    2016 Travelers Championship  Jim Furyk 73-66-72-58, 11 under 269 to finish T-5th

So what usually happens when somebody shots low?
Of our seven exclusive members, three of the rounds were shot in the final round. Of the other four, Al Geiberger was 13 shots worst shooting a 72 after his 59, In 1991 Chip Beck shot a third round 59 and followed that up with a 68. In 2010 Paul Goydos opened the John Deere shot 59 and was nine worst with a 68. In 2013 Jim Furyk shot a second round 59 to 69. So the margin is between 9 shots and 13 shots worst.

So is it a big curse going low in the first round?
In looking at PGA Tour events since 1970, 675 rounds of between 59 and 63 have been shot with 99 of the players winning. Only one of the 675 shot 63 and followed it up with a 62, Tom Lehman in the 2001 Last Vegas Invitational. Seven of the players shot 63 and followed it up with a 63. But of the 657 others, they shot a worst second round with the worst being Andres Romero, who in the 2014 Shriners Hospitals shot a first round 61 and a second round 81 to miss the cut. The next worst was Rory McIlroy, who opened the 2010 British Open with a 63 but shot a second round 80. Now the bottom lie on this, of the 675 players they averaged playing six and a half shots worst in the second round.
So what about the difference between the 2nd and 3rd rounds?
775 rounds of between 59 and 63 have been shot since 1970 with 107 of the players winning. Nobody shot better third round scores while three players was able to tie their second round score. The worst stroke difference was Al Geiberger who was 13 shots worst after shooting his 59 at the 1977 FedEx St. Jude. Of all our players, the average was 5.2 shots higher.

So what about the difference between the 3rd and 4th rounds?
514 rounds of between 59 and 63 have been shot since 1970 with 80 of the players winning. We had two rarities, Ron Streck at the 1978 Texas Open and Jason Day in the 2015 shot 63 and followed that with a 62 in winning efforts. At the 2008 Wyndham Championship, Rich Beem shot 63-63. Now the worst was at the 1994 Disney when John Flannery went from shooting 62 to shooting a 79. Of our 514 players they averaged playing 7.2 shots worst in the 4th round.

So what does this mean for Justin Thomas?
Justin is playing great but as we can see, most of the time a player will go low in one round and shot between 5 to 7 shots worst. Think of it this way, for Thomas if he shots seven shots worst it’s a second round 66 and if you look at the field in the first round of the Sony Open, 37 players shot 66 or better so Thomas should unless he really plays bad still be eiher in the lead or close to it.

So what do you think Thomas will do on Friday?


Below is a chart that PGA Tour Shotlink put together of the sub 60 scores:

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