Sports

Inspired by Woods and Begay, Stanford golfer shoots record 59

 

Stanford men's golfer Viraat Badhwar, a sophomore from Queensland, Australia, broke the course record at Stanford Golf Course on Sunday by shooting an 11-under-par 59. He previously shared the record -- 61 -- with Cardinal women's team junior All-American Mariah Stackhouse.

Inspired by a weekend of practicing with former All-Americans Notah Begay III and Tiger Woods -- Begay was inducted into the Stanford Athletics Hall of Fame on Saturday night and presented by Woods, his former teammate -- Badhwar became one of few golfers to break the magical 60-barrier. Begay did it during a Nike Tour event in 1998.

GoStanford.com caught up with Badhwar and asked him to review his experience and his round, shot-by-shot.

In his words, here is the anatomy of Badhwar's record-breaking round . . .

"I try to stay in the present as much as I can. I was trying to treat each shot as it came -- nothing special on the day -- just a bit of practice before the round.

I was fortunate enough to see Tiger the day before and he gave us a few good pointers and definitely devoted a lot of time to help us out. There were a lot of lingering thoughts from that conversation that helped me during my round, and hopefully will help me in the future to be better.

I learned a lot from Tiger and Notah. It was probably the most I've learned in two days of golf.

There was just so much information that Tiger and Notah threw at us, which was awesome. So many questions -- they had great answers -- and they devoted so much time to us, which was great.

A lot of good takeaways, like better practice, how to address difficult situations on the golf course, nutrition, workouts, how to deal with pressure … all the things we could possibly need. They were out there helping us out, giving us good techniques and suggestions on how we could improve.

I did save the golf ball. It's in my golf bag and I wrote '59' on it. It's going to be around until I find a better place to put it.

I saw Mariah the next morning. We have a class right next to each other. She was very excited, more than I anticipated, and gave me a big hug. That was great.

I shot a 61 last spring. I started with a par on the first hole, which is a par-5. And interestingly enough, I had an eagle on the first hole this time. I was playing with Maverick McNeely and David Boote, and Maverick mentioned to me, "Oh, now you're on track for a 59," out of the blue.

That obviously got the thought going, but I tried to shut that down as quickly as I could.

The day before, Tiger explained to me to, "Treat each shot as it comes and treat it as a physical chess match. The result in the end is just the result in the end." I just took each shot as it came. Luckily, I hit it well and made some really good putts to get the ball rolling and kept that going until the end.

It was exactly the same as every other round I played with the guys. We get along really well. We were actually playing for push-ups. Second-place does 15 and third-place does 30. I was trying to be the guy that didn't do the push-ups. I was pretty keen to see that they didn't have any change in mood, and the first hole was exactly the same as the last one, which helped me keep a similar attitude.

I didn't think about shooting 59 until I was on the last green. I hit my second shot to about 20 feet, and had to decide whether I was going to go for the putt … or lag it up there.

At that point, I asked Maverick what the situation was, and only then did I really know what I was shooting. I just lagged it up there to about a foot-and-half and holed the next one.

I hit 12 out of the 13 fairways, I hit (net) 18 greens -- I missed two greens but I hit two par-5s in two (No. 1 and No. 16), and had 25 putts. That definitely helped.

The first hole, I hit driver and 4-iron on the green from 200 yards and holed a putt from just under 20 feet.

The second, I hit my second shot 25 feet from the hole and just missed that putt.

I hit a great 5-iron into three -- about 15 feet away on the long par-3 -- and made that one.

On the par-3 fourth, I hit a 7-iron to about 15 feet and holed that.

At the par-4 fifth, I hit it to about 13 feet and lipped out.

I drove it really well and hit a sand wedge to about a foot-and-half at the par-4 sixth and holed that.

I missed the fairway to the right on the par-5 seventh and laid up. I hit a pretty good wedge shot to about 12 feet and just missed my birdie putt.

I hit an 8-iron to about 15 feet at the par-3 eighth and made the putt.

At the par-4 ninth, I hit my drive 70 yards from the green and hit my second to about 10 feet and just missed that one.

I missed two or three putts that could have gone in, so it would have been even better.

On the back nine, I almost holed my second shot on the par-4 10th, hitting a 7-iron to about three inches.

On the par-4 11th, I laid up short of the bunker and hit it to about 12 feet with a 9-iron and holed that.

Pretty solid par on 12. Hit a driver and 5-iron just short of the green and got up and down.

On the par-4 13th, I hit a pitching wedge to about 15 feet and holed that.

On the par-3 14th, I tugged it left and it just stayed on the green and I two-putted for par.

On the par-4 15th, I hit a wedge to about an inch-and-a-half. It was spinning and lipped out. At that point, I was 10-under.

At the par-5 16th, I hit driver and 2-iron to about 15 feet, and lipped out my eagle putt on the low side.

At the par-3 17th, I had a pretty ornery tee shot, missed it back-right, over the back-right pin. I was on the down slope and it was a pretty difficult pitch shot, which I hit well to get to 15 feet. I really wanted to hole it because I've only had one-bogey free round. I worked hard and managed to hole it.

I was 11-under going into 18, hit driver and 9-iron to about 20 feet past the hole with a two-putt."

And there you have it, a remarkable 59.

— Stanford Athletics

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