History was made on Saturday at the 146th Open Championship where Branden Grace fired a record setting 62, the lowest round ever in a men’s major championship. The 29-year-old South African torched a defenselessness Royal Birkdale during the third round converting eight birdies against zero bogeys. For perspective, this is the first time in 442 major tournaments that a 62 has been posted.
Grace started his day with a birdie on the normally difficult first hole and went out in a modest 5-under 29. After making the turn, he cooled down with a string of four straight pars. Then lightning struck when he holed a 40-foot birdie putt on the par-3 14th. He drained another 30-footer on the 16th, then made birdie on the par-5 17th to get him to 8-under on the par-70 track.
Needing just a par on the 18th hole, Grace’s approach went long but was able to get down in two and lock up his place in history.
“It was a special day,” Grace said afterward. “I had no idea that was the lowest at all. I was so in the zone, was trying to finish the round without a bogey. Sometimes it helps not knowing these things.”
— Royal Birkdale Golf (@RoyalBirkdale_) July 22, 2017
Prior to Grace’s 62, there were 31 rounds of 63 recorded in a major (29 players), with the most recent one coming at the 2017 U.S. Open just a few weeks ago at Erin Hills where Justin Thomas shot his.
Ironically, Johnny Miller, the man who notoriously set the 63 scoring mark during his final round charge in 1973 at Oakmont was on the call for NBC Sports on Saturday and discussed it with Dan Hicks. As expected, Johnny didn’t disappoint, especially when noting the difficulty of the course set up.
“He played really, really well no doubt: Eight birdies, no bogeys, 10 out of 14 fairways, 16 out of 18 greens, 28 putts. Twenty-eight putts is quite a few putts to shoot 62.”
“He did it with his ball-striking. He had to go through the gauntlet and those putts that he made coming in were really strong and he drove the ball terrifically and made the course really easy. It was set up really, really easy today, folks, but still a heck of a round.”
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