It might not be official, but Jaco van Zyl and Scott Jamieson will always be remembered as the men who shot a 57 – the lowest ever score recorded on The European Tour.
The South African and Scotsman carded their eight under par scores during the second and final round of the Nelson Mandela Championship presented by ISPS Handa at Royal Durban Golf Club.
It was on a layout dramatically changed due to heavy rainfall over the past three months, though, as the course was reduced from its initial par 70 of 6,773 yards to 65 and 5,133 yards and the contest shortened to 36 holes following a washout on Thursday and Friday.
Both men, however, refused to get carried away after beating the previous best – an unofficial 59 by Ireland’s Mark McNulty during the first round of the 1985 German Open – despite admitting it was a “pretty cool” feat to achieve.
Jamieson, opening on the back nine on Sunday, reached the turn in a remarkable 26 shots, making birdies at four of the five par threes and one on the par four 17th, before coming home in 31 with his further gains coming at the second, seventh and closing ninth to complete a flawless second round.
“I don’t know if it’s official – because of the par 65 and all – but it’s nice to have your name in a book either way,” laughed Jamieson, who faced a nervy afternoon after his heroics on Sunday gave him a share of the clubhouse lead with England’s Steve Webster and Spainard Eduardo De La Riva as the afternoon progressed.
“I found it difficult to get pin-high on many of the holes yesterday and I was much more on top of that today, so I gave myself plenty more chances. When I missed the greens I was lucky enough to get up and down every time which was nice.
“I had a couple of chances over the last two holes, and if I had holed both of them I would have fancied my chances for sure but I’ll still be keeping an eye on it.”
Kokstad born Van Zyl was also bogey-free, turning in 28 blows after starting on the tenth and coming home in 29 to finish the tournament five under par despite a disappointing opening 68.
And in spite of being equally bashful about accepting too many plaudits in terms of the ‘record’, he was pleased with his round under the testing circumstances.
“I’m not really looking at this as a record,” said Van Zyl. “This week was very different to any other – there were eighth par threes. I think if the tournament went to more rounds the ‘record’ wouldn’t have stood too long, because the guys are getting the hang of the course now.
“But to get it to eight under par, playing eighth par threes and with only one par five, you’ve got to hit quality shots and make a couple of putts.”
Van Zyl, however, put the performance in perspective.
“It’s pretty cool but it would be even better to do this next week on that par!” he said, looking ahead to the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek.
Frenchman Alexandre Kaleka also recorded a sub-60 round, finishing six under par on Sunday to sign for a second unofficial 59 on The European Tour.