America’s Brandt Snedeker came just inches from a historic round of 59 when his birdie putt on the last hole crept wide at the WGC-HSBC Champions on Saturday.
Snedeker still shot his best ever competitive round of 12-under-par 60 – a record for the par-72 Olazabal Course at southern China’s Mission Hills, and the best seen at a World Golf Championship event.
The phenomenal card of 10 birdies and an eagle looked set to become the first sub-60 round on the European Tour, and only the fifth on the PGA Tour, which is co-sanctioning.
But Snedeker found a fairway bunker on the par-four 18th and despite a great shot to 15 feet of the hole, his pressure putt refused to drop.
“I’d love to have that putt again,” he said. “I hit a great putt and it stinks not doing it (59) but it’s still a great round and I got back in the golf tournament, which is nice.”
The 32-year-old started the third day just one under par for the tournament, but he kicked off his round with four birdies in a row, and then added two more to turn at six under.
Another birdie on 10 was followed by a “fluke” birdie on the par-three 13th, where he putted in from 75 feet. Snedeker went eagle, birdie on 15 and 16, and then rolled in a 25-footer on 17 to raise hopes of a magical 59.
As play continued, he was four shots off the lead at 13-under-par 203. Snedeker has been through a rollercoaster in recent weeks after claiming a $10 million bonus for winning the PGA Tour Championship, and then losing in the Ryder Cup.
Just two weeks ago, he became a father for the second time, to a baby boy named Austin.