LA QUINTA, Calif. — Humana Challenge leader Matt Kuchar was asked whether he was surprised that there have been only six 59s on the PGA Tour and that no one has shot 58.
“No. We’re talking about golf,” Kuchar said. “It’s a difficult game. It’s a very challenging game. Fifty-nine, that’s a lot under par. That is quite an amazing feat.”
Ryan Palmer was in position to do it Friday after playing an eight-hole stretch in 10 under. Needing to go 3 under on the final eight to shoot 59, he bogeyed the next two holes and ended up with an 11-under 61.
“Walking off 10, after I got to 10 under, I was staying calm, trying not to think about anything, just trying to keep my momentum going, my pace with my walk,” Palmer said. “It’s hard not to think about it.”
After opening with two pars, Palmer had two eagles and six birdies on the next eight holes to match the longest eagle-birdie streak in PGA Tour history. He stumbled with the bogeys on the par-4 second and par-3 third, and couldn’t get a couple of late putts to fall. “Couple loose swings there,” Palmer said. “I guess the bogeys did kind of calm me down a little bit more and I didn’t worry about, obviously, the number.” Palmer birdied the fourth and sixth holes, and made another on the par-5 eighth after missing an 8-foot eagle try. A 59 no longer possible, he missed a 6-foot birdie putt on the ninth in a closing par. The 38-year-old Texan holed out from 97 yards for eagle on the par-4 12th to start the streak on PGA West’s Jack Nicklaus Private Course. He birdied the next three holes, made a 20-foot eagle putt from the fringe on the par-5 16th and added three more birdies.