The best and worst golf rounds of all time
Golf is an extremely unpredictable sport. One stroke of genius or one errant bounce can totally change the course of a tournament. However, it is this uncertainty that makes golf so captivating, and challenging.
Over the years there have been many unlikely rounds played in golf competitions – some astonishingly good, others catastrophically bad. Here we take a look at three of the most incredible performances:
55 for 18 holes – The lowest 18-hole golf score
With 18 holes left to play in the 1962 Premier Invitational, a 24-year-old amateur called Homero Blancas trailed his friend Fred Marti by five strokes. However, it turned out that this significant lead would not be enough to prevent Blancas from winning the competition.
The course at Premier Golf Club, Texas, where the 1962 Premier Invitational competition was held, is no longer in existence. It was a short course but, by all accounts, it was extremely tight and tricky to play on due to its tiny greens and out-of-bounds areas everywhere.
Blancas opened with a birdie and then thinned a chip at the second hole which hit the flag square on and dropped in for an eagle. He made five more birdies to turn in eight-under-par 27.
On the back nine, the birdies continued to flow and it wasn’t until the 17th hole, when 13-under-par for the round, Blancas realised the enormity of what he was achieving. He faced a 45-foot birdie putt and hit it too hard, however, the ball struck the centre of the back of the cup, jumped inches into the air and dropped in.
On the par-5 last, Blancas’ drive leaked over to the right but, amazingly, the ball hit a tree and bounced back to the fairway. He made yet another birdie and signed for a 55.
Following this great golfing success, Blancas turned pro and went on to win four PGA Tour events.
A brave effort – The highest golf score on the Professional Tour
In the 1974 Tallahassee Open, a little-known pro from Seattle called Mike Reasor qualified for the competition with rounds of 73 and 71.
After round two Reasor was out horse riding when the animal took fright and smashed him into a tree. Reasor hurt his leg and tore both rib cartilage and the muscles in his left arm. His left shoulder was partly separated.
These injuries could have been enough to force Reasor to withdraw from the tournament, however, because the golfers who completed 72 holes in the Tallahassee Open would be made exempt from qualifying for the following week’s Byron Nelson Classic, Reasor was determined to continue with the competition.
Reasor went out in round three and played one handed, using just a five-iron and a putter. He went round in 123 (51-over-par).
He adopted the same technique in round four and improved with 114 (42-over-par) resulting in an overall score of 93-over for the weekend.
It was a brave effort but, sadly, Reasor’s injuries were too severe for him to compete in the Byron Nelson Classic the following week.
Reasor never won on the PGA Tour but he did manage ten Top-10 finishes. He died in 2002.
The World’s Worst Golfer – Out of his depth
Maurice Flitcroft, a crane operator from Barrow in Furness and former Merchant Navy seaman and stunt high-diver, was an interesting character.
Flitcroft took to golf late in life and, after borrowing a book by professional golfer Peter Alliss from his local library, he decided that he wanted to try competitive golf.
Flitcroft read about a Milwaukee postal sorter named Walter Danecki who had entered the 1965 Open Championship and scored 81-over-par in the 36-hole qualifying session. Flitcroft believed that he could do better and obtained an entry form for the 1976 Championship. During the application, the 46-year-old considered the question of whether he was an amateur or professional golfer. With no handicap to declare, and despite never having completed a full 18 hole round he stated, “Professional.”
As such, he received an invitation to play in qualifying at Formby. He almost missed his tee-time, skied his first drive and went on to score a determined 121.
Golf writer Pat Ward-Thomas described Flitcroft’s round as, “a blizzard of triple and quadruple bogeys, ruined by a solitary par.”
After some less than gentle prodding from an R&A Official, Flitcroft withdrew from the second round.
Flitcroft attempted to qualify on further occasions, often in disguise and posing under pseudonyms like Gene Pacecki, Gerald Hoppy and finally James Beau Jolley (pronounced Beaujolais.) But he never made it more than nine holes before being, “collared by the suits.”
These, almost unbelievable, golf competition highs and lows should give you a great insight into just how unpredictable golf can be. It is very likely that these iconic stories will be told for years and we are sure that there will be many more incredible golfing tales to share in the future.
If you enjoyed reading this, why not check out:
- ‘The most unusual incidents and injuries on the golf course’
- ‘Golfing Traditions and Superstitions’
- ’10 Greatest Golf Shots Ever’