American Justin Thomas became the seventh man in PGA history to fire a 59, doing so in style with an eagle on No. 9 to open a four-shot lead at the Sony Open in Hawaii on Thursday.
Thomas won at Maui last week, and was 9-under through 17 holes but landed in a bunker on his drive on 9. He hit a 5-iron on his second shot within 15 feet of the hole, then drained the putt as playing partners Daniel Berger and Jordan Spieth celebrated with fist pumps and high-fives.
It’s the first sub-60 round since Jim Furyk’s record-setting 58 last summer. Five of the eight sub-60 rounds have been recorded this decade. Prior to 2010, the last came in 1999 (David Duval). Before that, only Chris Beck (1991) and Al Geiberger (1977) had ever shot a 59.
Thomas, who won’t turn 24 until April 29, is the youngest member of the sub-60 club. He started his day on the back nine by birdying No. 10, then gave a stroke back with a bogey on No. 11. He was almost flawless the rest of the way, with five birdies on the next six holes to hit the turn at 29.
He birdied three of his first four holes on the back nine to reach 9-under, then parred four straight holes before the eagle to end the round.
Despite the impressive round, Thomas has just a 4-stroke lead over 40-year-old Rory Sabatini, who shot a 63 on Thursday. He fired a 5-under 30 on the front nine including an eagle on the same No. 9 that Thomas eagled to reach 59.