(Reuters) – Dustin Johnson looked poised to make golf history after a blistering start at the Northern Trust on Friday but had to settle for a second-round 11-under 60 and a two-stroke lead over Scottie Scheffler, who earlier became the newest member of golf’s 59 club.
Johnson was 11-under par though 11 holes and threatened to card the lowest single-round score in PGA Tour history but could only manage pars over his final seven holes to sit two strokes clear of Scheffler and Cameron Davis heading into the weekend of the FedExCup playoffs opener.
The American had chances for 59 or better on his final two holes but his seven-foot birdie putt on 17 rimmed out of the cup and his 23-foot birdie attempt on 18 passed inches left of the hole before he tapped in for 60, the 36-year-old’s career low.
Jim Furyk’s 58 in the final round of the 2016 Travelers Championship remains the lowest single round in Tour history.
Johnson said he wasn’t let down by not ending with a sub-60 round amid outstanding scoring conditions in sunny Norton, Massachusetts.
“Anytime you shoot a number like that, you’re never going to be disappointed,” he said.
“I feel like my game is in good form and I need to come out tomorrow and do the same thing.”
PGA Tour rookie Scheffler’s sizzling shotmaking led to a new TPC Boston course record after his round of 12-under-par 59 — just the 12th sub-60 round in PGA Tour history.
The 24-year-old, who less than two weeks ago played in the final pairing of the PGA Championship, became the second-youngest player to shoot a 59 on the Tour, trailing only Justin Thomas, who was 23 when he accomplished the feat in 2017.
“Today was obviously a good day on the course,” said Scheffler, who needed just 23 putts in his round. “Had some key up-and-downs at the beginning of the round that kind of got me rolling, freed me up a little bit.
“Then the momentum just kind of kept going. Never really lost momentum, which was nice.”
World number 45 Scheffler rolled in a 10-foot birdie putt at the par-three 16th and then needed to play the final two holes in two-under to match Furyk’s record.
Scheffler’s birdie try from 22 feet at the penultimate hole rolled past the hole but then, after his second at the par-five 18th was short of the green, he managed to get up and down from 87 feet to join the exclusive club.
Fifteen-time major champion Tiger Woods finished his second round at even par and made the cut on the three-under-par cutline.
This week’s tournament, open to the top 125 golfers in the season-long points standings, is the first of three playoff events that culminate with the Sept. 4-7 Tour Championship in Atlanta and the $15 million prize to the FedExCup champion.
Only the top 70 in the standings after this week go on to the BMW Championship at Olympia Fields outside Chicago, and from there the top 30 move on to Atlanta.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto and Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Ian Chadband and Tom Brown)