Groenewegen wins Tour de France sprint as Philipsen relegated for swerve

Hayden Springer posts 14th-under 60 in PGA Tour history, eagle-birdie, 59

SILVIS, Ill.: Hayden Springer posted his 14th-under-60 round in PGA Tour history on Thursday, joining a quickly growing list. He had an eagle-birdie at the John Deere Classic to complete a 59 (12-under par).

He only managed a two-shot lead over Sami Valimaki on a rain-softened TPC Deere Run course that was easy to score on, with only 13 players out of 156 finishing above par.

Springer shot 27 on the first nine and tried to block out thoughts of a 59 or better. Then he made five straight pars and thought his chance was gone until he holed a 55-yard shot for eagle on the par-5 17th.

Needing a birdie to reach golf’s magic number, his approach clipped the slope and left him 12 feet behind the line, but the putt was true throughout.

“I’m a little speechless about being able to do it,” Springer said. “I think it’s one of the few things in golf, so to have that opportunity and to do it, it’s really special.”

The PGA Tour record is held by Jim Furyk, who shot a 58 at the 2016 Travelers Championship. Furyk is also one of 13 players with a 59.

Any score starting with a 5 remains special, although it is not as rare as it once was as players get better year by year. Springer became the second player in three weeks to break 60. Cameron Young also had a 59 at the Travelers Championship.

It was the eighth-under 60 round in tournament golf worldwide. The lowest score was a 57 by Cristobal del Solar of Chile in a Korn Ferry Tour tournament in Colombia.

Springer tied the record at TPC Deere Run. Paul Goydos shot 59 in the first round of the John Deere Classic in 2010. Goydos had only a one-shot advantage this year when Steve Stricker shot 60 on the same day to win.

Valimaki, playing in the afternoon, noticed Springer’s 59 when he played the first nine holes.

“I think it was my seventh hole,” Valimaki said. “I thought, ‘OK, I have to shoot lower and lower.’ I didn’t, but it was still a good round.”

Eric Cole had a 62, and the group of 63s included Florida State sophomore Luke Clanton, who finished 10th in last week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic. Lucas Glover, on the wrong side of the postseason bubble five weeks before the FedEx Cup playoffs, shot a 64.

Players were allowed to pick up, clean and place golf balls in the short grass.

Still, Springer had reason to believe this might be a special day. He holed a 12-foot eagle on the second hole and chipped from 60 feet for birdie on the next. He birdied the next three holes, then closed out the first nine with birdies of 3 feet and 7 feet.

It was a 15-foot birdie putt on the sixth hole that left him wondering how much lower he could go.

“I thought, ‘OK, I feel like I’m not missing today. I’m basically holeshotting every time I look at a putt,’” he said. “So that putt was probably kind of a trigger: ‘OK, we might be able to go really low.’”

Springer has failed to make five consecutive cuts, putting him at risk of losing his card. He played in a Korn Ferry Tour event the week of the U.S. Open — he finished 54th — and spent time with his longtime swing coach before finishing 10th in Detroit last week.

If this was progress, it was a giant leap.

But Springer already knows how to cope with the tough times. His little daughter, Sage, was diagnosed in 2021 with trisomy 18 — also known as Edwards syndrome — in which babies are born with three copies of chromosome 18 instead of two.

Such infants usually don’t live past 72 hours. Sage was 3 when she died on Nov. 13, just a month before Springer faced Q-school. He still had enough emotional capacity to earn a PGA Tour card, and he’s now in the record books with a sub-60 round.

“I don’t know if it gives me inner strength, but it definitely tests you and you have to find ways to work through it and move on,” Springer said. “A lot of it is our faith, just leaning into it and knowing that we’re safe in that.

“We had some tough things to do,” he said. “But at the end of the day, I also want to compete, and I love doing that.”

Kevin Chappell was among those with a 64. The conditions were so favorable for scoring that 12 players in the morning wave had 65s or lower. Jordan Spieth was not among them. He had to fight for a 69, and his first step on Friday will be to get through the qualifying round.

As for Springer, he became the fourth player on the PGA Tour with an opening-round 59. Justin Thomas (Sony Open in 2017) and Brandt Snedeker (Wyndham Championship in 2018) have won. The exception was Goydos in the John Deere Classic.

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