Troy Matteson flirted with a magical 59 as he snapped out of a season-long slump to match his lowest ever score on the PGA Tour, a nine-under-par 61 in the second round of The Greenbrier Classic in West Virginia on Friday.
American Matteson enjoyed a magnificent day on the greens, using his putter just 19 times as he racked up nine birdies on Greenbrier's Old White course in White Sulphur Springs.
“This was unlike any day I've had this year but I've always been a streaky putter. When I get hot, it usually falls in from just about anywhere,” Matteson told PGATour.com after posting a seven-under 133 total.
That left him two strokes behind leader Billy Hurley III (63) with half the field back in the clubhouse.
Matteson, 34, had missed the cut in his previous four starts, but he stood on the 18th tee with thoughts of matching the 59 fired by Australian Stuart Appleby, who shot the magical number at the same venue four years ago to win the title.
Needing a hole-in-one at the par-three 18th, Matteson took dead aim with a pitching wedge from 163 yards, but it was not to be and he had to settle for a par.
“I was like I've just got to take a shot at it,” Matteson said. “How many shots (chances) are you going to get? I just pushed it, just very slightly.”
Matteson is enduring a dismal season, ranking 162nd on the PGA Tour money list and 565th in the world, and has not recorded a top-40 finish since November.
He has always been a streaky player, though, as he demonstrated when he carded successive rounds of 61 en route to his second PGA Tour victory at the 2009 Frys.com Open.
“You're going to have some rough spots in your career at some point,” he said. “I've been working on some new swing stuff.
“I was a little worried this morning. You're never quite sure when it's only been a day or two (but) obviously today I hit it much better.”
Matteson's 61 was the joint second lowest score on the 2013-14 PGA Tour. American J.J. Henry fired an 11-under 60 in the first round of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas where Argentina's Andres Romero opened with a 61.
Hurley also signed an unblemished card, a 63 giving him a nine-under total 131 as he ended the round one stroke ahead of fellow Americans Kevin Chappell (65) and Chris Stroud (66).
A former U.S. military member who was a lieutenant aboard a navy destroyer in the Persian Gulf in 2010, Hurley felt that accurate driving had been the key to his score.
“I drove it really well today, hit a lot of fairways, and when you get the ball in the fairway around here, you get a lot of mid, short-irons and you can attack some flags,” he said. – Reuters