South African shoots lowest round in major history
Branden Grace has set the new standard for scoring in golf majors with a 62 in the British Open yesterday, the lowest score ever recorded in 442 major championships.
The South African pounced on a serene day that was ideal for scoring at Royal Birkdale. He moved to 8-under par for the round with a two-putt birdie on the par-5 17th, and then wrapped up the record with a beautiful lag from behind the 18th green to 2 feet.
Jordan Spieth shot 65 to take a three-shot lead into the final round as he looks to add his third major title.
Spieth’s Ryder Cup colleague Matt Kuchar, who shot 66, is second with US Open champion Brooks Koepka and Canadian youngster Austin Connelly in a tie for third – five shots behind Spieth.
But it was Grace’s day with the 29-year-old’s 62 taking centre stage.
From the time Johnny Miller shot his famous 63 in the final round at Oakmont to win the 1973 US Open, a 63 was posted in the majors 30 more times. No-one ever got lower until Grace.
‘‘Look at that number! That is
‘‘I was so in the zone, playing so well.’’ Branden Grace
sweet,’’ Miller said from the broadcast booth at Royal Birkdale.
Grace went out in 29 and seemed to stall until a 30-foot birdie putt on the par-3 14th put him at 7-under with two par fives ahead of him. He missed an opportunity on the 15th hole, but drilled his tee shot on the 17th and easily hit the green for his two-putt birdie.
‘‘A special day,’’ Grace said.
With his name in the record book, still to be determined was whether he had a chance to win. Grace, who made the cut by one shot, finished at 4-under 206.
And there were plenty of low scores offered on this day at Royal Birkdale. Grace was oblivious to all of it, falling into a steady diet of fairways and greens, and making enough putts.
‘‘I had no idea whatsoever that was the lowest,’’ Grace said. ‘‘I was so in the zone, playing so well. I was just trying to finish the round without a bogey. Sometimes it helps not knowing these things.’’
It helped playing with Jason Dufner and his dry sense of humour. Dufner shot a 66.
‘‘It’s kind of neat to be a part of history,’’ Dufner said. ‘‘It’s a great experience for him. It was semicool for me.’’