Alexander Hughes (UCO Athletics)
Breaking 60 is not only one of the most difficult things to do in golf but one of the hardest things to accomplish in sports.
Scottie Scheffler became just the eleventh PGA Tour member to break 60 at the Northern Trust just last week. Jim Furyk is the only PGA Tour player to post two sub-60 rounds in competition as he holds both a 59 and a 58 on Tour.
Former University of Central Oklahoma golfer Alexander Hughes didn’t just break 60...he obliterated it.
Hughes joined a junior golfer on August 27 to show the junior the ins and outs of South Lakes Golf Course in Tulsa, Oklahoma prior to this weekend’s OJGT event at the course.
And boy did he lay the course out beautifully.
Hughes carded a 16-under-par 55 on a round that was somewhat played on a whim. Joined by a random twosome, Hughes dazzled the group with a round of a lifetime.
Opening the round with a measly par, Hughes quickly made it a round to remember as he secured an ace on the 155-yard par-3 2nd. A mere footnote to his round, the star of the show was Hughes’ putter.
Photo courtesy of TJ Eckert
Having not been putting up to his standards, Hughes stopped by Golf Galaxy two and a half hours before teeing it up at South Lakes. Replacing his oversized grip with the classic tour velvet ‘pistol’ grip on his ever-so-trusted PING Redwood blade, Hughes was given back the feel he grew accustomed to growing up.
“I just took it out there,” Hughes told AmateurGolf.com. “It felt really good in my hands, I was trying to slow my tempo down putting-wise. I just kind of hit a groove.”
Grooving better than Studio 54 in the ‘70s, Hughes went 7-under over a six-hole stretch to close out the front nine with a 26.
“I knew it was pretty special after the eagle on nine,” he said. “That was about a 20, 25-footer that rolled in for eagle. From there I was just like ‘Alright, I guess keep going lower, keep doing the same thing.’ I just kept the ball rolling.
Just as golf would have it, even a 55 has its trouble spots. Hughes went wayward off the par 4 11th tee and was inches from being out of bounds, up against a fence. Taking his medicine, he opted to flip over his 9-iron and brought out his inner Phil Mickelson to give himself an up-and-down opportunity from around 100 yards out of the left rough. Lobbing a three-quarter 60-degree to 20-feet, Hughes told himself “There’s no reason I can’t knock this in.” Avoiding spike marks, the ball trickled in for his first par since No. 3 to keep the momentum going.
Coming back with a birdie on No. 12, Hughes felt as though he dropped shots with back-to-back pars on Nos. 13 and 14. On what Hughes calls “the only negative thing that happened during the round”, he missed an 8-foot birdie putt that simply did not break and grazed the left edge for a tap-in par.
Through 14, all Hughes needed to do was go 1-under the rest of the way to post a 59. With the par-5 15th ahead of him, he had other plans. Taking advantage of his length, Hughes got on in two and once again relied on his putter to make up for his ‘mistake’ pars. Sinking a 35-foot eagle on 15 to go 13-under on the day, reality began to creep into his head.
“Right when I did that the two random guys I was playing with were losing their minds,” Hughes said through a laugh. “When I rolled that in I was like ‘okay’ I think I was in the 50s at that point. So I was kind of thinking about it but I was confident all day.”
Like a pitcher throwing a perfect game, Hughes knew what he needed to get done, and trusted the stuff that got him there.
“That’s kind of the attitude I’ve always had,” said Hughes. “I’m not too worried about things. It’s been helpful to me in my golf career, but its also been sometimes not so helpful. Golf coaches have talked to me about that in the past.”
With the help of Pat Bates and Josh Fosdick who were Hughes’ coaches at Central Oklahoma, Hughes has found a balance of his naturally fiery competitiveness and his laidback mindset to help him get to where he is today.
Following the eagle on No. 15, Hughes tallied three more birdies to close out the round and put himself in the record books not only at South Lakes but globally. Per Golf Channel, Rhein Gibson, an Australian who played for Oklahoma Christian posted a 55 at River Oaks in Edmond, Oklahoma just two hours southwest of Tulsa back in May of 2012. And in 1962, Homero Blancas shot a 55 at a local tournament at Premier Golf Club in Longview, Texas, although that course measured just over 5000 yards. To everyone’s knowledge, these rounds are the lowest attested and verified scores ever recorded.
When it comes to his future in golf Hughes is hoping to break through on the professional level as he is currently a pro but has missed the cut all three All-Pro Tour events he has played. With a degree in criminal justice and a strong support group, Hughes has a bright future ahead of him no matter which path he chooses.