In his first tournament as a Korn Ferry Tour rookie last season, Mac Meissner carded two quintuple-bogey 10’s … on the same hole.
On Friday at the Lecom Suncoast Classic, he shot 59.
The 24-year-old SMU product was hoping just to make the cut after an opening even-par 71 at Lakewood National Golf Club in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, but that was before he carded 10 birdies and a round-capping eagle to shoot 12 under.
“I mean, definitely a little bit shocked right now,” Meissner said. “That’s my first one ever, and to do it in competition is pretty insane.”
Meissner is the eighth player in KFT history – and the first since Sam Saunders shot 59 at the 2017 Web.com Tour Championship – to card a sub-60 score. Stephan Jaeger still holds the tour record of 58, recorded at the 2016 Ellie Mae Classic.
He didn’t realize he was chasing a spot in that elusive club until birdieing his penultimate hole, the par-4 eighth. He knew Lakewood National had four par-5s, so he had assumed it was a par-72 layout. However, the course also features five par-3s.
When it clicked, and with the 465-yard, par-5 ninth being downwind, Meissner and his caddie said to each other, “Might as well go for a 59.”
“We were kind of in between clubs in the fairway and my caddie looked at me and he goes, ‘Are we trying to shoot 59 or are we trying to shoot 60?’” Meissner said. “So, I pulled less club (6-iron) and went right at it and ended up hitting it like 15 feet and making it.”
Four of Meissner’s five first-nine birdies came from 2 feet and in, with the longest being a 10-footer at the par-3 15th hole. His second-nine birdies were tougher, as he birdied Nos. 3-6 with made putts of 12, 5, 6 and 15 feet. His last birdie of the day, at No. 8, came from 20 feet.
“Yesterday, I made two birdies, hit it to a bunch of fringes, just felt like I was close, couldn’t really get the ball on the right side of the hole,” Meissner said. “I just kind of shot a really average even par round out here. That just goes to show you that every day’s different. You wake up, you never know what can happen. I’m just super fortunate to be able to do this in a tournament.”