Duval, uncannily accurate in every phase of the game, surged from seven strokes off the pace to win the five-round Bob Hope Chrysler Classic at La Quinta, California.
The only other PGA players to reach 59 were Al Geiberger at the Memphis Classic in 1977 and Chip Beck at the 1991 Las Vegas Invitational. Two Nike Tour players - Doug Dunakey and Notah Begay III - shot 59s in 1998.
Duval's 13-under par 59 - the best closing round in PGA history - gave him victory at 26-under 334. He had rounds of 70, 71, 64 and 70 before hitting the record. After making 11 birdies yesterday, Duval made history with an 8ft eagle putt at 18.
Duval, who rarely shows emotion when things are going well or poorly, pumped his arm as the ball went into the cup on the final hole. He then pumped it a couple more times and raised both arms and smiled.
Duval, who went out in 31 and came back in 28, said there was no luck involved, but that his round was all skill.
Despite his astonishing performance, he had to wait as Steve Pate, playing in the day's final group, finished. Pate went to 25-under with a birdie on 16, but parred the last two to finish one stroke behind Duval.
The win, a second in succession for Duval, gave him $540,000 (pounds 330,000) and lifted his earnings this year from two events to over $1m.
Laura Davies claimed her first top 10 finish of the season in the Naples LPGA Memorial in Florida yesterday as she continued a confidence-boosting start to this year's US Tour.
The 35-year-old shot a closing 69 - her third sub-70 of the event - to finish joint seventh on 11 under par, five shots behind the winner, Meg Mallon. The American birdied the short 17th to win by one from Sweden's Helen Alfredsson and Kelly Robbins, who won the opening event of the season in Orlando last week.
Scores, Digest, page 21