Rose just misses magical 59 at Funai Classic

Oct 19, 2006 - 7:52 PM By Andrew Both SportsTicker Golf Writer

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Florida (Ticker) - Justin Rose missed a magical 59 by one shot Thursday.

Rose pulled a 14-foot birdie putt at the final hole of the Palm course, settling for a par and a stellar 12-under-par 60 in the first round of the Funai Classic at Walt Disney World Resort. The only players to shoot 59 in a PGA Tour event are Al Geiberger (1977 Memphis Classic), Chip Beck (1991 Las Vegas Invitational) and David Duval (1999 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic). Phil Mickelson did it in the 2004 Grand Slam of Golf - an unofficial event - and Annika Sorenstam did it on the LPGA Tour in 2001. Although it was easily the best round of his career, Rose acknowledged he may never get a better chance to break 60. "You know 59 is a huge number and you never know if you'll ever get that chance again," he said. "I did everything right to shoot 59. I made two great swings on the last hole. I just set my putt up left edge and pulled it." The 26-year-old Englishman settled for a course record and a five-shot lead over Tag Ridings, Steve Flesch and Bob Tway, with half the field back in the clubhouse. "Other than playing really, really well, I didn't really have an inkling that that was around the corner," Rose continued. "I kept giving myself lots of chances. There's no doubt the course is there for the taking (but) it was uncharted territory for me." Rose did not start thinking about a 59 until he got to 10-under after 12 holes. When he birdied the par-4 17th to go 12-under it was a distinct possibility.

He nearly holed his 6-iron approach at the par-4 18th. Although his ball trickled further away than he would have liked, he still had a golden chance. His amateur partner holed out on a similar line, showing Rose that there was hardly any break. However, Rose's putt never even scared the hole and was left all the way.

Rose let out a wry smile, cleaned up for par and acknowledged the small gathering of less than 100 spectators. It was a special morning, but it could have been even better.

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