ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Tommy Gainey leaned against his driver on the 18th tee on Sunday and gazed up at a camera tower hovering above the Seaside Course, “You’d never catch me up there,” he said.
The leaders at the McGladrey Classic never had a chance of catching the former mini-tour legend, who blistered the Seaside layout with a course-record 10-under 60 that featured a 15-footer at the last for a 59 that stopped just short.
“Of all the people on this Tour who would have a putt for 59 and leave it short, I would have said that it would have never have been him,” Gainey’s caddie Marvin King said.
Gainey was vying to become the sixth player to shoot a 59 in a PGA Tour event, but he was glad to settle for his first Tour victory, a one-stroke triumph over David Toms.
“I’m real happy with that four (par),” smiled Gainey, who needed just 24 putts, hit 16 of 18 greens in regulation and 10 of 14 fairways. “I wasn’t thinking about 59.”
Gainey’s round featured seven consecutive 3s starting at the 11th that was highlighted by a chip-in for eagle at the 15th hole from 40 feet to move to 15 under. He followed that with a 20-footer for birdie at the par-4 16th and a vicious fist pump.
“That was pretty wild,” said Brendan Steele, Gainey’s playing partner on Day 4. “I’ve known Tommy a long time, and he stays within his own rhythm and plays pretty quick, which is helpful in situations like this.”
Gainey had birdie putts at the 17th and 18th holes but failed to convert either attempt, but he said he has shot a 59 before at Northwoods Country Club in Columbia, S.C., in 2007.
“I actually had a putt for 58 that day,” he said. “Ran it 4 feet by.”