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There’s a short list of people who feel disappointed when writing down a par on their scorecard. Jim Furyk joined that list in 2016. After an 11 under thru 12 start at the Travelers Championship, he made five pars in the last six to only shoot 58, setting a PGA Tour record.
Andrew Ruthkoski just joined this list. In 2012, the Muskegon professional broke Oak Ridge Golf Club’s course record with a blistering 11-under 61. On Sunday, June 19th, Ruthkoski did it again. This time, however, he matched his 11-under score on the front nine.
He began his casual evening round with his two stepdaughters in style, chipping in for eagle at the par-5 1st. “How’s that for a start,” he told the Detroit News, after birdieing 2 and 3, succeeded by back-to-back eagles and another birdie.
The plan was to play a few holes before sunset and return the carts by 8:45 out of respect for the employees who work in the cart-barn. But when you’re nine under through 6, you don’t call it quits. After making a two on the 300-yard, par-4 9th to go out in 25, the possibility of breaking 60 became more than real. It became likely.
While Ruthkoski failed to make a fifth eagle of the day on the back nine, his six birdies allowed him to surpass his hopes of 59. He tied Rhein Gibson and Alexander Hughes for the lowest round in golf history: 55. However, Ruthkoski played a par-72 golf course, whereas his co-record holders played on a par-71, making his round the lowest in respect to par at 17 under.
When you’re predominately making twos and threes, pace of play is intrinsically fast. The foursome of Andrew Ruthkoski, his stepdaughters Emma and Riann Fri, and Emma’s boyfriend Max Price, were finished before 10 p.m., playing the back nine in about one hour. Maybe the USGA should encourage breaking 60 on top of their Tee It Forward, pace-of-play initiative.
So what’s next for the newly-crowned world record holder?
Yesterday, June 23rd, Ruthkoski fired a five-under 67 in the John Deere Classic pre-qualifying event. With a T-4 finish, he will move on to the Monday qualifier taking place on June 27th. Roughly 150 players will compete for four spots to tee it up at TPC Deere Run.
This is not his first time on the big stage. In 2014, Ruthkoski also pre-qualified into the Monday qualifier. He then proceeded to shoot a bogey-free 66, earning him a spot in the field at the John Deere Classic. With scores of 72 and 70, he missed the two-under cutline by two strokes. He has experience, and he couldn’t be on more of a tear. Ruthkoski showed that his 55 was no fluke at the pre-qualifier, and the qualifying leaderboard may be worth a glance come Monday.