Friday, 21 December 2018
Oliver Fisher's 59 scorecard  (Getty Images)
Oliver Fisher's 59 scorecard (Getty Images)

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No two rounds of golf are the same, nor do they all mean the same thing. A round of level par can be enough to win a tournament, to make a cut or even to secure a tour card. It's the beauty of golf.

There were 20,351 completed rounds on the European Tour in 2018, but one unquestionably stands out from the rest. 

On Friday September 21, Oliver Fisher made history when he shot a round of 59 at the Portugal Masters, the first time that score had ever been posted on the European Tour. The Englishman made ten birdies and one eagle to cement his place in the history books. Whoever goes on to match that score, nobody will forget that Fisher was the first.

It may come as no surprise to learn that, statistically speaking, Fisher's round was the best of the campaign. He gained more strokes on the field than any other player over 18 holes last season with his phenomenal round of 12 under par.

Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course in the Algarve is used to low scores; in the 12 previous editions of the Portugal Masters, the winning score has surpassed 20 under par on seven occasions, including the last four seasons running. However, nobody in the history of the tour had posted a sub-60 score. Step forward, Mr Fisher.

The 2011 Czech Open champion was six under par in six holes. He posted one more birdie to play his front nine in just 28 shots. Fisher began his back nine in the same manner as the first, making birdies on three consecutive holes. A gain on the 15th hole was almost cancelled out by a bogey on the 16th, but a superb par putt from 20 feet kept Fisher's scorecard blemish-free. Another birdie on the 17th meant Fisher was within a solid par away from setting the lowest recorded score in European Tour history. 

Incredibly, he almost rolled in a birdie putt from 25 feet on the last hole that would have earned him a 58. Instead he tapped in for par to secure the elusive 59 and sign for a score 10.83 strokes better than the field average.

Afterwards, Fisher said, "Going out, I was trying to make the cut at level par, so shooting that meant it was a great day all around."

A great day, indeed.

Here's a list of the top ten rounds on tour last season, based on strokes gained on the field.

1) Oliver Fisher - 59
Tournament: Portugal Masters (Round 2)
To par: -12
Strokes Gained: 10.83

2) Shubhankar Sharma - 64
Tournament: Indian Open (R2)
To par: -8
Strokes Gained: 10.40

3) Thorbjørn Olesen - 61
Tournament: BMW International Open (R4)
To par: -11
Strokes Gained: 9.93

4) Adrien Saddier - 63
Tournament: SA Open (R2)
To par: -9
Strokes Gained: 9.34

5) Tony Finau - 66
Tournament: US Open (R3)
To par: -4
Strokes Gained: 9.33

6) Daniel Berger - 66
Tournament: US Open (R3)
To par: -4
Strokes Gained: 9.33

7) Sergio Garcia - 64
Tournament: Nedbank Golf Challenge (R1)
To par: -8
Strokes Gained: 9.28

8) Emiliano Grillo - 65
Tournament: Indian Open (R1)
To par: -7
Strokes Gained: 9.21

9) Tommy Fleetwood - 63
Tournament: US Open (R4)
To par: -7
Strokes Gained: 9.18

10) Stephen Gallacher - 67
Tournament: Indian Open (R3)
To par: -5
Strokes Gained: 9.12

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