OCEANSIDE, Calif. (July 6, 2013) -- When Joe Ryon called his friend Jim Myers Friday night to see if there was a spot in the Saturday game, Myers told him there was room, but they were playing from the white tees.
At just under 6100 yards, with all the par 5s reachable with irons for the long-hitting Ryon, El Camino Country Club from the whites isn't nearly the test Ryon faced when he won the club championship in late June, posting rounds of 72-63-71.
Myers told him that he should play it as a par 68 and use it as a wedge tune up. That advice from Myers, an 18-time club champion (who for years held the course record of 62) turned out to be the perfect setup for a day to remember.
A day later, Myers walked off the course shaking his head at what he had just witnessed.
"I just shot 68 and got smoked," he joked.
Ryon's amazing round started out like any other day, with a few routine pars. Then he drained a 40 foot putt on the treacherous par-3 4th hole, exiting El Camino's "Amen Corner" at 1-under.
The next four holes were crazy. Ryon, a former professional who works for TaylorMade, made eagle on the par-5 5th, followed that with a holed out wedge for eagle on the par-4 6th, a birdie (that grazed the pin for an ace) on the 7th, and another eagle on the par-5 8th. A par on 9 gave him 8-under 27.
Then a call came in telling Ryon about a water leak at the house. But you can't leave after a 27.
Ryon birdied the 10th (the only par 5 he didn't eagle) then made four straight pars. Was the party over?
Not quite. He went birdie-eagle on 15 and 16, then parred the 17th before that crucial moment on 18, when he faced a putt for 59.
Ryon, who called recently missing the cut by a shot on the lightning fast greens of Monterey Peninsula Country Club at the California State Am "a humbling experience," may not have expected to be under pressure in a fun Saturday game. But after wedging to 7 feet, he was looking at the magic number reached by a select few.
"I've probably never been so nervous over a putt in my life," he said.
After he drained it, and received the congratulatory handshakes of his playing partners, Ryon bought beer for the group, then headed back to see about that water leak.
"It wasn't as bad as I thought," he told amateurgolf.com on the way to the Trans-Miss Amateur at Northern California's famed Meadow Club. And he won enough money in the "Bob Vales game" to pay for part of it.
Myers, the previous course record holder, enjoyed watching his friend break the 60 barrier, even if it meant he no longer holds the course record.
"I'm glad I got to see it," said Myers, "What a great round of golf."