By Paul Myers
If you thought you could take a bit of a break from following professional golf this past week, you would have made a major mistake. Sure, the Travelers Championship found itself in a spot on the schedule between the PGA Championship and golf’s return to the Olympics, but that doesn’t mean that the event was without excitement. In fact, just the opposite was true – the tournament played at TPC River Highlands proved to be one of the most exciting events of the entire year.
First, the winner – Russell Knox claimed the title after shooting a total of -14 for the four-day event. Knox finished with a -2 68 to edge out Jerry Kelly by a single stroke. A couple of potential future stars finished just another shot further back, as both Justin Thomas and Patrick Rodgers posted -12 totals to share third place. To claim his win, Knox poured in a dramatic par putt on the 18th green to avoid a playoff with Kelly. The putt was certainly exciting, but unfortunately for Knox, it will only be the second most-memorable putt holed on that 18th green on this particular Sunday.
Furyk Stole the Show
It is rare when the player who finishes in a tie for fifth place steals the show, but that is exactly what happened at the Travelers Championship. Long-time PGA Tour player and former major champion Jim Furyk was the main storyline on Sunday in Connecticut, as he posted the single best round in the history of the PGA Tour. That’s right, the best score in history. Well over a million rounds have been played on the Tour since its inception, and no one has ever gone as long as Furyk. The score? Just a smooth little 58.
Shooting 58 on any 18-hole golf course is absolutely incredible – let alone one that has been set up for the best players in the world. While nobody will confuse the Travelers Championship for the U.S. Open in terms of difficulty, it’s not like the TPC River Highlands course was being chewed up by everyone in the field. In fact, scoring on Sunday was relatively modest for Tour standards. There certainly were some other great scores – such as Justin Thomas shooting 62 – but there were also round like Daniel Berger’s 74 to speak to the challenge of the course.
Furyk managed to shoot this unprecedented score largely on the back of a stunning start. After a par at the first, Furyk made birdie on the second, eagle on the third, and birdie on the fourth. A par on the fifth hole left him four under after five holes, which is when things really started to get crazy. Starting on the sixth, Furyk managed to birdie the next seven holes consecutively, leaving him an amazing eleven under par after just twelve holes. After three straight pars, a birdie on the 16th pushed his score to -12, and two pars on 17 and 18 would close the deal at 58. Considering the fact that someone will need to shoot 57 to actually break this record, there is a good chance that it stands for a very long time to come.
Now that a memorable Travelers Championship is now in the books, the golf world will turn its attention to the Olympics. Although most of the top players in the world have decided not to take part, there will still be considerable attention paid to this global event.