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NORTON, Mass. – This wasn’t the first time Scottie Scheffler shot 59 this summer.
During one of his quarantine wolf games in Dallas, buzzing around in individual carts, Scheffler took it deep and even rolled in a 20-foot eagle putt on the last hole. It wasn’t until he got in the car and started adding up the score – once, then twice, then probably 10 times – that he realized he had indeed fired golf’s magic number.
“I was just kind of going out and playing,” he said. “It was fun.”
Friday at The Northern Trust wasn’t much different.
No cameras, at least not until the last few holes.
And without a standard bearer in the group, no real sense that something historic was unfolding. When Kevin Streelman brought up to Tony Finau that Scheffler needed to roll in a 6-foot par putt on 17 and then make birdie on TPC Boston’s par-5 18th to break 60, Finau had no idea. He thought he had a hot round going, maybe 7 or 8 under, but nothing like this.
“In that regard, it’s a little different,” Streelman said, “but he still had the pressure to step up there on 18.”
And so just off the front-left edge of the 18th green in two shots, Scheffler lagged his 90-foot eagle putt to about 4 feet. “I was definitely nervous, very nervous over both of those shots and coming down the stretch,” he said, “but I think it helped me focus a little bit more.” In front of fewer than 50 people, Scheffler poured in the birdie putt to shoot 12 under and record the 12th sub-60 round in Tour history – but the first of the COVID-19 era. At 24, he’s the second-youngest to achieve the feat, and the rookie was feted not with raucous cheers but rather a smattering of applause and a couple of fist bumps from his playing partners.
After beginning the day with hopes of a mid-60s round to make the cut, Scheffler instead jumped into a share of the 36-hole lead at 13-under 129, with Cameron Davis.
“It was fun to watch Scottie and how well he did,” said Streelman, who was 12 shots worse with a 71, “but man, you feel like a 9-handicap watching somebody shoot a 59.”
Even without the usual buzz that accompanies a low round, Streelman still avoided talking about the score with Scheffler, if only out of superstition. Instead, they discussed dinner plans for the group – Skipjack’s? Patriot Place? – until he had little choice but to cede the stage to Scheffler.
The newest member of the sub-60 club wasn’t going to get stuck with the bill tonight, not after this round.
Said Streelman: “It would be an honor to pay for that meal.”