Going low

Published 8:54 pm Friday, July 11, 2014

Joey Holley shot a 59 a few weeks ago to set a new course record at the Troy County Club. (Photo/April Garon)

Joey Holley shot a 59 a few weeks ago to set a new course record at the Troy County Club. (Photo/April Garon)

Joey Holley fires 59, sets new course record at Troy Country Club

There weren’t thousands gathered around the green or national TV cameras locked on his every move, but Joey Holley knew what was at stake standing over his ball on the 18th green.

He faced a knee-knocker putt to set a new course record at the Troy Country Club, and to hit golf’s magic number of 59.

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Holley’s put found the bottom of the cup, and as soon as it did, an ear-to-ear grin covered his face.

“It was just one of those days where everything came together,” Holley said. “I hit the ball well, and got the puts to roll in. Some days the ball doesn’t want to find the hole, and others it rolls right in.”

Holley’s record round started like many of his normal ones. He pared the first two holes, but then the round turned magical.

He ripped off six straight birdies on holes three through eight before dropping another par at the ninth. At the turn, Holley was in at 30, some six shots under par.

A birdie on No. 10 got the ball rolling on the back nine, and two more birdies at 13 and 14 got within him striking distance of ending his day with a 59 on the scorecard.

Before teeing off on 15, Holley checked his card, and immediately knew what was at stake.

“I knew I needed three birdies in the final four holes to get 59,” Holley said. “You try to not let your mind get too far ahead of yourself, but it was there. The final four holes were fun.”

Holley’s birdie putt on 15 lipped out, forcing him to make three straight to end the round to set the new course record.

“When it hit the bottom, I couldn’t help but get excited,” Holley said. “It was a really good feeling to know that you played well and made the right shots. I was able to share the experience with some really great playing partners that day, and it is something that I will never forget.”

Tony Mitchell, Superintendent of the Troy Country Club, said Holley’s round was one for the ages.

“The club has been is existence for about 60 years, and usually have around 12,000 rounds of golf a year,” Mitchell said. “We have had great professionals and college play here of the years, and for Joey to have the low round says a lot about how good of a golfer he is. He is one of the best, no doubt about it.”

To put in perspective of how rare a score of 59 is in the world of golf, a total of just six players have hit the magic number on the PGA tour.

Al Geiberger was the first Tour Pro to shoot 59 in 1977. Since then, Chip Beck, David Duval, Paul Goydos, Stuart Appleby and Jim Furyk have fired off magical rounds.

While Holley is quick to point out the courses on Tour are much more difficult than what he plays, going low is quite a feat.

“Most courses are par 70, 71 or 72,” Holley said. “Scores in the 60’s are good and if you can get in to the 50’s, that is something special. The 59 is just a number that all golfers want to shoot.”

While most golfers dream of shooting 59 once, the round at Troy was actually Holley’s second go-around with the low score.

He shot 59 during a round at the Elba County Club in 1997, and was tickled to do it again.

“Heck, I’m 53 years old, and will be 54 in September,” Holley said. “I never dreamed I would be able to do it again, but it happened. It may never happen again, but I will always remember both rounds.”