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Sweet 60

Steven LynchOctober 21, 2014
Nicolas Colsaerts came a whisker away from a 59 at the Portugal Masters © Getty Images
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Nicolas Colsaerts shot a round of 60 the other day. The reports said it equalled the lowest round on the European Tour - but I thought there was a 59 earlier this year? asked Martin Salisbury

Nicolas Colsaerts' round of 60 in the Portugal Masters recently was the 19th such score on the European Tour. The first was by the Welshman David Llewellyn in 1988, in the Biarritz Open - though the par there was only 68. There were two 60s last year, by the American Peter Uihlein in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championships at Kingsbarns (par 72) and Scott Jamieson, also in the Portugal Masters (par 71).

Colsaerts' birdie putt for a 59 on the last hole just lipped out. However, if it had gone down his feat would not have been recognised, as "preferred lies" were in use after bad weather. This normally happens when the conditions are wet enough for the ball to gather mud. They allow the golfer to lift, clean and place the ball within six inches - which helps the players shoot better scores, so invalidates records.

That's what happened in the instances you are referring to. In the Nelson Mandela Championship in Edgecombe, South Africa, in December 2013 (but part of the 2014 European Tour), both Jorge Campillo of Spain and South Africa's Colin Nel shot 59s in the second round while "lift, clean and place" was in operation after heavy rain had soaked the ground.

The European Tour has a way to go before it catches up with the American one. There have been six 59s over there, most recently by Jim Furyk last year. The Japanese Tour has even seen a 58 - by a then 18-year-old Ryu Ishikawa in May 2010.

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