Justin Thomas joins elite group af­ter shoot­ing a 59 in the first round at the Sony Open.

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - SPORTS INSIDE - GOLF

HONOLULU — Fresh off his vic­tory on Maui, Justin Thomas joined the “59 Club” on the PGA Tour by mak­ing a 15-foot ea­gle on his last hole Thurs­day at the Sony Open for an 11-un­der 59.

Thomas thought his hopes at a 59 were over when his drive on the par-5 ninth hole at the Wa­ialae Coun­try Club was a foot from clear­ing a fair­way bunker on the left and rolled back into the sand. He fig­ured he couldn’t reach the green un­til re­al­iz­ing Daniel Berger hit 4-iron from the bunker onto the green.

Thomas fig­ured “this wasn’t a time to lay up.”

He hit 5-iron clean and pure, and it set­tled 15 feet be­low the cup. Wast­ing lit­tle time over the putt, he poured it in for 59 and lightly pumped his fist. The ex­cite­ment came from Berger and Jor­dan Spi­eth, and only when Thomas looked at their re­ac­tion did it be­gin to sink in.

“I got more ex­cited from see­ing them get ex­cited,” he said.

Jim Furyk was the last player with a sub-60 round when he closed with a record 58 at the Trav­el­ers Cham­pi­onship last sum­mer. Furyk also had a 59 in 2013 at the BMW Cham­pi­onship, join­ing the ex­clu­sive group that in­cludes Al Geiberger (1977 Mem­phis Clas­sic), Chip Beck (1991 Las Ve­gas In­vi­ta­tional), David Du­val (1999 Bob Hope Clas­sic), Paul Goy­dos (2010 John Deere Clas­sic) and Stu­art Ap­pleby (2010 Green­brier Clas­sic).

Thomas made two ea­gles, along with a bo­gey.

Spi­eth, best friends with Thomas since they were 13, was more ner­vous than Thomas, who had a 30-foot birdie putt on No. 7 that looked good even when it was inches from the cup un­til burn­ing the edge.

David Ling­merth (Arkansas Ra­zor­backs) was 1 un­der af­ter 13 holes. Ken Duke (Arkadelphia, Hen­der­son State) was 1 over af­ter 14. Bryce Molder (Con­way) was 2 over af­ter 15.

Thomas

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