Commentary

Frazar's 59 won't count as a record since Q-school isn't official PGA Tour event

Originally Published: December 6, 2008
By Peter Yoon | Special to ESPN.com

LA QUINTA, Calif. -- When Harrison Frazar shot 64 in the second round of PGA Tour Q-school, he told anyone who would listen that he didn't play that well.

Going Low, But Not A Record

Harrison Frazar's 59 on Saturday was impressive, but what it wasn't was a record. Even though his score came during PGA Tour Q-school, it wasn't an official event so in turn it isn't an official record. Here's a look at the other memorable 59s in PGA Tour history.

1977: Al Geiberger shot 59 in the second round of the Danny Thomas Memphis Classic at Colonial Country Club. Geiberger's round included 11 birdies, six pars and one eagle. He immediately became known as Mr. 59.

1991: Chip Beck shot 59 in the third round of the Las Vegas Invitational at Sunrise Golf Club. He made 13 birdies and five pars, and finished his round with a 3-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole.

1999: David Duval shot 59 in the final round of the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic on the Palmer Course at PGA West. He capped it off with an eagle at the 18th to win the tournament.

2000 *: David Gossett shot a 59 during PGA Tour Q-school. While it was a great day, it wasn't a great week for Gossett who didn't earn his card for 2001 despite the sub-60 round.

2008 *: In the fourth round of PGA Tour Q-school, Harrison Frazar carded 11 birdies and a eagle to shoot the magical number. He missed a birdie putt on 18 by mere inches that would have given him a 58. See his hole-by-hole scorecard

* -- Do not count in the official PGA Tour record book since it wasn't an official PGA Tour event.

-- ESPN.com news services

Turns out that, indeed, he had something lower in the bag. Much lower, in fact.

Frazar used a string of seven consecutive birdies on the back nine and shot golf's magic number, a 59, 13 strokes under par Saturday on the Nicklaus Tournament course at PGA West.

It was only the second 59 shot in Q-school, matching the one David Gossett carded in 2000 at the Nicklaus Private Course. The round doesn't go into the PGA Tour record books because Q-school is not considered an official tournament.

Nevertheless, it was compelling. Frazar came to the 18th with a shot at 58, but barely missed a 20-foot birdie putt and tapped in for par and his 59.

"It felt a lot better than the second round," he said. "I felt like I was much more in control this round. In the second round, I got some breaks. Everyone was like, 'Yeah right, you shot 64,' but I don't feel like I played that well. This one was a lot better."

The round began without much fanfare as he was 1-under through four holes, including par on the par-5 fourth. But his iron game got hot and he began hitting approach shots to within 15 feet and making putts.

He made three birdies and an eagle on Nos. 5-8 and made a par on No. 9 to make the turn at 6-under. After a par at No. 10, he started a run of birdies that kept his playing partners and caddies at arm's length, not wanting to say anything that might jinx the run.

Frazar drained a 20-footer for birdie on the par-3 17th that brought the string to seven and his total to 13 under. It also got thoughts racing through his head.

"If somebody says they don't know how low they are under par, they're lying," Frazar said. "Your heart rate gets up a little bit. It gets a little bit tougher to get a little spit. But I hit my routine, I made good swings, I was thinking well and I feel like the swings I made on the last couple of holes were some of the best swings I've made all week. So that's probably what I'm most proud of."

To those with a front-row seat, it seemed as though Frazar's every swing was his best swing of the day.

"That was unbelievable," said James Nitties, who held a share of the lead after the event's previous two rounds. "I thought he was going to shoot 56 the way he was hitting it. Every putt was going in the middle of the hole. Awesome round."

When Gossett shot 59, it came in the fourth round of Q-school. But Gossett failed to break 70 in any other round that year and did not receive his PGA Tour card. Frazar now has a four-shot lead with two rounds to go and he's 10 shots clear of the top 25 who will earn playing privileges for the 2009 PGA Tour season on Monday. Still, he's not taking anything for granted.

PGA Tour Q-school

1. Frazar (-24)
2. Aldridge (-20)
3. Williamson (-18)
T-4. Glen Day (-17)
T-4. Bryce Molder (-17)
T-4. James Nitties (-17)
T-4. Fathauer (-17)
• Complete scores

"This isn't the last day and this isn't over," Frazar said. "We've got two days left. On these courses, as you can see, you can get at it, but you can also get bit pretty hard."

Frazar, a 10-year veteran of the PGA Tour, finished 163rd on the money list last season -- the lowest of his career. The year before, he was 131st, a far cry from 2004 when he won more than $1.4 million and finished 48th.

"He struck the ball well this year, he just didn't putt the ball well at all," said Randy Smith, Frazar's swing coach. "That starts getting in your head a little bit. Everything is bad when you're putting bad, but he's putted fairly decent this week."

Still, Smith had no reason to think 59 was in the cards.

"Did I see this coming? Not necessarily," he said. "I wanted him to be competitive, to keep himself together and play six rounds of golf very steady. But to have one like this?"

The putt that got Frazar below 60 was a big, breaking 40-footer on the par-3 17th. It wasn't a putt he was necessarily trying to make, but when things are going your way, they're going your way.

"I wasn't trying to make that putt," he said. "I wasn't thinking about the ramifications of it. I was just trying to get up there and roll right around the hole and it went in. I haven't made a putt in two years, so it was time to go in."

Peter Yoon is a contributor to ESPN.com's golf coverage.

Peter Yoon

ESPNLosAngeles.com