Qualifier Rhys Enoch defied illness to make the cut at the U.S. Open Championship and then outscored Major Champion Patrick Reed in the third round at Pebble Beach Golf Links.
Laid low by a chest infection at the start of the week, Enoch struggled to an opening round of 78 on Thursday and predicted bookmakers would have offered odds of 4,000-1 on him being around for the weekend after a slow start to round two.
However, the Welshman rallied to post a brilliant 66 - only Tiger Woods, Justin Rose and Gary Woodland have ever shot lower in a U.S. Open at Pebble Beach - to make the cut on the mark of two over par.
That meant a third round alongside 2018 Masters Tournament Champion Reed on Saturday and a level par 71 meant he outscored the American by a shot.
“When you say only three people have shot 65 here and I shot 66 it sounds great, doesn’t it? But I was saying to everyone there was a score out there and I knew there was,” he said.
“I was feeling so bad yesterday, though, I was just trying to tick each shot off at a time and get in the house. Once I started picking up shots round the turn I was back in it and the adrenaline gave me a lift.
“My caddie said it was the best round he had ever seen. It felt great to me but it didn’t feel like that. But it just shows what happens when you hit fairways.”
Enoch’s younger brother Ben was also a highly promising player, but was killed in a car accident ten years ago last month on his way to compete in the Lytham Trophy.
My caddie said it was the best round he had ever seen - Rhys Enoch
“I had a little think about Ben afterwards,” Enoch said. “It is ten years since he died but he is always with me. He would have loved this.”
Enoch was in college in the United States at the time of his brother’s death and, after graduating from East Tennessee State in 2012, his professional career got off to a nightmare start after he contracted glandular fever.
“I still get flare-ups now and about 4:30am on Sunday I got slammed,” added Enoch, who secured his place at Pebble Beach via the International Sectional Qualifier at Walton Heath.
“I had done too much in preparation. I got here Saturday and was a bit excited going round, then had a big gym session Saturday night. I didn’t practice on Tuesday and Wednesday so it was difficult. I’ve been playing well, though, so I’m just really glad I conjured some magic."