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Pettersson flirts with 59 at Canadian Open

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RBC Canadian Open

TORONTO – Carl Pettersson shot a 10-under 60 on Saturday to break the Canadian Open record, missing a 59 when his 30-foot birdie putt from the fringe grazed the left edge on St. George’s difficult par-4 closing hole.

“I hit a pretty good 6-iron in there, but the wind sort of got it,” Pettersson said. “And you can’t go past the hole because then you got no chance. And it was actually a difficult putt to get to the hole because it was very steep uphill.

“I hit a good putt. I told myself, ‘You cannot leave this short. You got to give this a chance.’ And I hit a solid putt and it was just hovering right on the left side. … With 6 inches less pace it probably would have gone in.”

Pettersson was trying to become the second player this month and fifth overall to shoot a 59 on the PGA Tour. Paul Goydos did it July 8 in the John Deere Classic and Al Geiberger (1977 Memphis Classic), Chip Beck (1991 Las Vegas Invitational) and David Duva (1999 Bob Hope Classic) also have accomplished the feat. In May on the Japan Tour, Ryo Ishikawa shot a 58 – the lowest score ever on a major tour – to win The Crowns.

“Obviously, I’m happy with the round, but I would have loved to have seen that putt go in,” said Pettersson, a three-time PGA Tour winner. “But that’s the way it goes. … It was just a thrill to have a chance to shoot a 59. How many more chances do you have to shoot 59? But I’m thrilled to shoot 60.”

Playing in the third group of the day after making the cut by a stroke with opening rounds of 71 and 68, Pettersson had two eagles, seven birdies and a bogey. The former 32-year-old North Carolina State player from Sweden finished the round at 11 under, a stroke ahead of second-round leaders Tim Clark and Dean Wilson.

“I thought I was going to miss the cut yesterday,” Pettersson said. “We got finished with the round and it was right on the borderline. Me and Jay Williamson were actually watching the computer to see if we were going to make the cut, and had a few Canadian beers in there. That settled me down, I think. Maybe that’s what did it.”

Pettersson broke the tournament record of 62 set by Leonard Thompson in 1981 at Glen Abbey and matched by five others, including Brent Delahoussaye on Thursday and Kevin Sutherland on Friday. Pettersson tied the tournament record for relation to par of 10 under set by Greg Norman in 1986 when Glen Abbey played to a par of 72.