South African Branden Grace shot the first 62 in the history of men’s major championships with a third round eight under par at Royal Birkdale.
The 29-year-old from Pretoria reached the magic number by smashing a fairway wood 239 yards to the green at the par-five 17th. He two-putted for a tap-in birdie then held his nerve to par the tough finishing hole.
His underwhelmed demeanour as the crowd gave him a standing ovation was explained later when he revealed he had no idea he was putting to re-write the record books.
"I honestly had no idea that 62 was the record. But that makes it even sweeter," Grace said. “My caddie told me ‘Congrats, you’re in the history books.’ I said, ‘What are you talking about?’ I was so in the zone, I was just trying to finish the round without a bogey.
“Sometimes it helps not knowing these things.”
Grace’s caddie didn’t even know until Jason Dufner’s caddie told him as the South African stood over his final putt.
“I didn't know what was going on on 18. I promise you,” Grace added. “I was really concentrating getting myself back into this tournament, and giving myself a chance.”
Grace started the day four over par. He goes into the final round at four under.
There have been 442 majors in 157 years and 31 63s before Grace’s amazing 62. Of the 10 63s, there was one last year by reigning champion Henrik Stenson, and Phil Mickelson lipped out with a putt for a 62. Jodie Mudd shot 63 here at Birkdale in 1991.
Lloyd Mangrum shot the first 64 in a major in 1940 and that record stood 33 years until Johnny Miller’s 63. That 54-year-old record has finally been broken. The first 61 is coming sooner rather than later.
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