Austin shoots 59, scores 43 points in Diamond Resorts
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) Woody Austin shot a 12-under 59 on Friday in the Diamond Resorts Invitational, scoring 43 points in the modified Stableford event for PGA Tour Champions, LPGA Tour and celebrity players.
''I thought I shot 60,'' said Austin, a three-time winner last season on the over-50 tour. ''I didn't know it was a par 71.''
The 52-year-old Austin closed with a 3-foot par putt in pouring rain. He holed a 47-yard pitch for eagle on the par-5 ninth and had 10 birdies on the Four Seasons Resort's 6,626-yard Tranquilo course. He earned six points for the eagle, three points for each birdie and one point for each par.
Kevin Sutherland shot the only 59 in official PGA Tour Champions play, accomplishing the feat in the 2014 Dick's Sporting Goods Open. On Thursday in the Sony Open in Hawaii, Justin Thomas had an 11-under 59 to become the seventh player with a sub-60 round in PGA Tour history.
Joe Durant was second in the pro competition with 34 points, followed by Brandt Jobe at 33, and Kenny Perry at 32. Lexi Thompson was tied for 13th with 26 points to top the four LPGA Tour players in the field. Brooke Henderson was tied for 23rd at 23, Brittany Lang was tied for 27th at 21, and Brittany Lincicome was last in the 31-player field with 16.
Former pitcher Mark Mulder led the celebrity field with 26 points. Former third baseman Troy Glaus was a point back, and Atlanta Braves executive John Hart was third with 23.
The women are playing from the same tees as the seniors in the $750,000 professional competition. The celebrities are playing for $500,000.
Austin made five birdie putts inside 2 feet.
''I flagged it,'' Austin said.
He's coming off offseason hernia surgery and a lengthy layoff.
''You should have hernia surgery more often,'' fellow Champions pro Scott Hoch told Austin in the scoring tent.
Austin made a 30-foot par save at No. 3, a pair of 20-footers and two from 8 feet. He made five straight birdies on Nos. 13-17.
''I made more putts than I did all of last year in one round,'' Austin said. ''The game's gotten a lot easier because of the technology in the golf ball and stuff,'' Austin said. ''When you're on, you're really on, and then it's just a putting contest. I proved that today.''