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Justin Thomas shoots 59 in PGA Tour event

AAP logoAAP 12/01/2017

Red-hot Justin Thomas became only the seventh player to break 60 on the US PGA Tour, and the youngest in that elite club, with a superb 11-under-par display in the opening round of the Sony Open in Hawaii.

Just four days after clinching his third PGA Tour title at the Tournament of Champions on Maui, the 23-year-old American rolled in a 15-foot eagle putt on his final hole, the par-five ninth, to card a 59.

Thomas, who set the tone for his memorable day at Honolulu's Waialae Country Club by eagling his opening hole with a chip-in from 34 yards, also carded eight birdies and a lone bogey.

Young Australian Cameron Smith carded a six-under 64 with seven birdies to end the day tied for fourth but must have felt like shaking his head as Thomas finished with a three-shot lead from little known fellow American Hudson Swafford (62).

Playing with longtime friends world No.5 Jordan Spieth and Daniel Berger, Thomas felt calm throughout his scoring blitz until he saw that pair celebrating his final putt.

"The emotions were fine until (then). I think Jordan (Spieth) was more excited than I was. To do that with two of your best friends was pretty cool."

"It means a lot. Any time you're in history in any sport ... it's a good thing and we all know it's the magical number in golf."

Thomas is seeking his fourth US tour title in just 15 months, having won the CIMB Classic in Malaysia twice as well as the Tournament of Champions where he triumphed at 22-under.

Spieth, best friends with Thomas since they were 13, was sure he was more nervous than Thomas.

"It's like sitting on the bench with a teammate throwing a perfect game," Spieth said. "It was awesome. What an awesome last five rounds he's had."

Thomas, who has enormous power for his 145-pound frame, made it look easy as he never hit more than a 7-iron into the par 4s at Waialae on a perfect day for scoring - very little breeze, fast fairways and soft greens.

That 7-iron was chipped under the trees and into a bunker on No. 8 when he was trying to save par.

South Africa's Rory Sabbatini was alone in third place after a 62, one clear of Smith and Americans Russell Henley, Gary Woodland, Tony Finau, Jamie Lovemark, Bill Hurley and Shawn Stefani plus Scotland's Russell Knox.

Marc Leishman, Rod Pampling and Greg Chalmers were the next-best Australians, sharing 52nd after 68s

Jim Furyk was the last player with a sub-60 round when he closed with a record 58 at the Travelers Championship last summer.

Furyk also had a 59 in 2013 at the BMW Championship, joining the exclusive group that includes Al Geiberger (1977 Memphis Classic), Chip Beck (1991 Las Vegas Invitational), David Duval (1999 Bob Hope Classic), Paul Goydos (2010 John Deere Classic) and Australia's Stuart Appleby (2010 Greenbrier Classic).

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