Friday, July 29, 2016

Stephan Jaeger shoots first-ever 58 in PGA Tour-sanctioned event

Ellie Mae Classic at TPC Stonebrae - Round One

Breaking 60 in a pro event on a major tour is a rarity — so rare, that it had only been done 19 times around the world, men and women, before Thursday.

That’s when Stephan Jaeger, a German-born 27-year-old, shot the first-ever 58 in a PGA Tour sanctioned event. He shot 12 under on the par-70 TPC Stonebrae in the opening round of the Ellie Mae Classic at Stonebrae on the Tour.


Jaeger, who hasn’t recorded a top-10 finish on the tour in 10 starts this season, made 12 birdies and six pars, including a three-putt par on the par-5 third hole that could have meant he went another stroke lower and shot 57, a number never reached on any major professional tour.

Starting his round on No. 10, Jaeger got off to a great start on the club’s back nine, going out in 6-under 29 on the back with a stretch of five consecutive birdies from 13-17. After making the turn toward the front nine, Jaeger made five birdies in the first six holes on the side.

With three holes to go, Jaeger, who went to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, needed to par into the house for a sub-60 round. He made pars on 16 and 17, both par 4s, before coming to the par-5 finishing hole needing just par for 59. He put his third shot to 10 feet, needing a tricky putt to down for birdie and the 58. He drained it.

Prior to Thursday, 58 had been shot twice in sanctioned major tour events. Jason Bohn shot 58 in the final round of the 2001 Canadian Tour Championship, while Ryo Ishikawa shot 58 in the 2010 edition of The Crowns on the Japan Golf Tour.

As for the Tour, it had seen its share of 59s — five, in fact — over years. However, breaking 60 on that tour is hardly an omen for success. Only one player who has shot 59 on the tour, Jason Gore, who did it in the 2005 Cox Classic, went on to win the tournament.

At No. 102 on the tour’s money list, Jaeger finds winning more important now than basking in an unprecedented accomplishment.

Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

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