Perfect round

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In golf, a perfect round is a round of eighteen holes where all holes were played on average at one under par (average of birdie on every hole) resulting in a score of 55 on a par 73 course, 54 on a par 72 course, 53 on a par 71 course, and 52 on a par 70 course. While the lowest possible score is 18, the term 'perfect round' is used for a 54 as the lowest score generally accepted as being in the realm of possibility among professional golfers on a par 72 course. This has remained the standard and has never been achieved by a professional golfer in a professional event.

Lowest scores overall

The lowest officially recorded score is 55 by Rhein Gibson and this score is recognized by the Guinness World Records.[1] Four other rounds of 55 are documented, but these are commonly discounted due to the quality of the course or the nature of the round (e.g., a non-competitive round).[2]

Lowest scores in professional golf

In official golf tournaments on major tours:

Player Score To par Rnd Finish Year Tour Tournament Ref
Ryo Ishikawa 58 −12 4/4 1 2010 Japan Golf Tour The Crowns [3]
Al Geiberger 59 −13 2/4 1 1977 PGA Tour Danny Thomas Memphis Classic [4][5]
Chip Beck 59 −13 3/5 T3 1991 PGA Tour Las Vegas Invitational [4][6]
Notah Begay III 59 −13 2/4 T6 1998 Nike Tour Dominion Open [4][7]
Doug Dunakey 59 −11 2/4 T2 1998 Nike Tour Miami Valley Open [4][8]
David Duval 59 −13 5/5 1 1999 PGA Tour Bob Hope Chrysler Classic [4][9]
Annika Sörenstam 59 −13 2/4 1 2001 LPGA Tour Standard Register PING [10]
Masahiro Kuramoto 59 −12 1/4 1 2003 Japan Golf Tour Acom International [3][11]
Jason Gore 59 −12 2/4 1 2005 Nationwide Tour Cox Classic [12]
Adrien Mörk 59 −12 2/4 1 2006 Challenge Tour Tikida Hotels Agadir Moroccan Classic [13]
Paul Goydos 59 −12 1/4 2 2010 PGA Tour John Deere Classic [14]
Stuart Appleby 59 −11 4/4 1 2010 PGA Tour Greenbrier Classic [15]
Will Wilcox 59 −12 4/4 T3 2013 Web.com Tour Utah Championship [16]
Russell Knox 59 −12 2/4 T12 2013 Web.com Tour Albertsons Boise Open [17]
Jim Furyk 59 −12 2/4 3 2013 PGA Tour BMW Championship [18]
Kevin Sutherland 59 −13 2/3 T7 2014 Champions Tour Dick's Sporting Goods Open [19]

In unofficial tournaments or on minor tours:

Player Score To par Rnd Finish Year Tour Tournament Ref
Shigeki Maruyama 58 −13 1/2 2000 PGA Tour U.S. Open qualifying round [20]
Jason Bohn 58 −13 4/4 1 2001 Canadian Tour Bayer Championship [21]
John Hahn 58 −12 4/6 T50 2014 European Tour qualifying school tournament [22]
Gary Player 59 −10 2/4 1 1974 Brazil Open [23]
David Gossett 59 −13 4/6 T68 2000 PGA Tour qualifying school tournament [4][24]
Phil Mickelson 59 −13 2/2 1 2004 PGA Tour PGA Grand Slam of Golf [25]
Martin Kaymer 59 −13 2/3 1 2006 EPD Tour Habsberg Classic [26]
Harrison Frazar 59 −13 4/6 1 2008 PGA Tour qualifying school tournament [27]
Will McCurdy 59 −13 2/3 2015 SwingThought.com Tour Callaway Gardens 3 Day [28]
Robin Kind 59 −13 2/3 1 2015 Pro Golf Tour Sparkassen Open [29]

Notes:

  • Rnd is the round in which the score was shot, i.e. 2/4 means the round was shot in the second of four rounds.
  • Finish is the final tournament finish of the player

Comments and quotes about achieving the perfect round

Annika Sörenstam has commented on many occasions about her desire to shoot the perfect round saying,

"I believe I can hit 18 greens, hit every fairway, you know—Vision 54, which means you birdie every hole, that's in the back of my mind. I want to putt better, chip better. That day when I hit 18 greens and one putt, I'll know I'm a complete golfer. Will that ever happen? I'm not sure, but it's possible. The 54 vision is always in the back of my mind."

In another interview she said,

"How do you shoot a 54? Hit one fairway. Hit one green. Make one putt. Do that 18 times and you have achieved golf perfection."

She even has a knitted blue and yellow head cover in her bag with the number 54 on it.

Cecilia Ekelundh, of the Ladies European Tour keeps the perfect round on her mind by drawing a 54 on the ball she plays in competition. "There is no reason why you can't birdie every hole," Ekelundh said. "I got the idea when Swedish speed skater Tomas Gustafson came and spoke at one of our national team days. He said he wrote his ultimate lap time on his shoe so that every time he put his shoes on he visualised making that time. Now every time I pick up a ball I have that vision."[30]

There is an emerging philosophy among top rated golf schools popularized by Pia Nilsson's Vision 54 that concentrates on achieving the perfect round, the basic ideology being that striving for perfection results in better scores even if the goal is not met.[31]

References

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