WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) New Zealander Mark Brown shot an 11-under-par 59 at the Tauranga Open on Friday, joining a small group of players to have carded a round under 60 in a professional tournament.
The former European Tour player sank a 14-foot putt on the 298-meter, par-4 10th hole - the last of his second round - to return the best score of his career and move him into a three-stroke lead after two rounds of the Charles Tour event, named after New Zealand great Bob Charles.
Brown carded 26 with seven birdies and an eagle on his second nine but didn't realize until late in his round at Tauranga Golf Club that he was close to breaking 60.
''I actually lost track. I did a wee tally up on the second-to-last hole and realized I just needed one more birdie,'' Brown said. ''Luckily the 10th hole is relatively straight-forward.''
Brown has had low rounds before, including a 10-under 62 at Melbourne's Kingston Heath to qualify for last year's British Open, but never threatened 59.
`'Tauranga is one of the more straightforward courses we play and there are a few drivable par-4s, but that being said you still have to make putts and I didn't miss many today.'' Brown said. ''I hit a lot of shots closes but holed a few longer putts when I needed to, 10 or 11-under par doesn't happen that often, and luckily it was a par-70 for the magical 59.''
Six players have shot 59 in official PGA Tour events. Al Geiberger did it in the 1977 Memphis Classic, Chip Beck in the 1991 Las Vegas Invitational, David Duval in the final round of his 1999 victory in the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, Paul Goydos in the 2010 John Deere Classic, Stuart Appleby in the 2010 Greenbrier Classic and Jim Furyk last year in the BMW Championship outside Chicago.
Kevin Sutherland had the first 59 on the Champions Tour in August in the Dick's Sporting Goods Open in New York.
Japan's Ryo Ishikawa had the lowest round on a major tour, shooting a 12-under 58 to win the 2010 Crowns on the Japan Tour.