Shooting a score of 59 is the impossible dream for most golfers.
England boys’ squad member Craig Passmore, however, is not your average golfer.
And at the tender age of 17, Passmore has already exceeded his wildest golfing fantasy to record a stunning round of 58!
“It was pretty insane,” remarked Passmore in what may go down as the understatement of the 2019 season.
Picture the scene.
Standing on the 18th fairway at the Players Club near Bristol, the young golfer from Devon knew that a birdie three at the final hole would give him that magical score of 59.
No mean feat on a course with a par of 72.
Inevitably, there was a buzz as a small crowd of fellow competitors and curious spectators from the clubhouse gathered behind the green eager to watch the drama unfold.
Having played without fear all day, Passmore wasn’t about to change tactic now.
The youngster pulled out a wedge, steadied himself, took aim at the pin – and promptly holed out from 45 yards to nail a 58!
It’s no wonder that the student from South Gloucestershire and Stroud College lost his mind for a few seconds.
“I just dropped the club and held my head in my hands!” confirmed Passmore as he reflected on the craziest round of his fledgling career.
“My previous best score was a round of seven-under par. To then come in with a round that was 14-under par is surreal.
“I have to say everyone at the course was really happy for me and the boys I know in the England set-up were also quick to pass on their congratulations on social media.
“There were a few comments expressing disbelief – but I guess that was to be expected.”
To put Passmore’s round into perspective it’s worth noting that it took nearly 50 years for any golfer on the European Tour to break the 60-barrier.
Oliver Fisher was the ecstatic golfer who finally cracked the code – his 59 in the Portugal Masters at Vilamoura in 2018 coming after over 690,000 competitive rounds on the European Tour without a single score registered in the 50s.
And let’s nail this now – the Codrington Course at the Players Club is no ‘gimme.’
Off the medal tees it stretches to 6625 yards. For the purposes of the qualifying competition on that November day, Passmore used a combination of yellow and white tees – with the course still playing around 6200 yards long.
The incredible thing was that in a round featuring nine birdies and three eagles it took a BOGEY to kickstart the scoring spree.
Passmore explained: “It was just one of those days when almost everything went my way. I say almost because I bogeyed the fourth hole after a three-putt.
“At that point I just decided to go for it. I only had 21 putts in my round which is ridiculous.
“I couldn’t believe how it turned out.
“Nine birdies and three eagles is mad.
“After my bogey I immediately birdied the next two and then eagled the seventh by holing my second shot from 60 yards.
“We were one of the last games out so by the time I came to the final hole there were a few people around the green including my coach Kelvin Aitken and a lot of the other competitors.
“I knew a birdie would give me a 59. To then hole my second shot again from about 45 yards was unreal.”
Out in 30 and back in 28, plus-two handicapper Passmore was justifiably thrilled.
Passmore was still walking on air when he set off for the Justin Rose Telegraph Young Masters in Portugal.
When he did land in the sunshine, Passmore was surprised to find that Rose was not only putting his name to the event, he was also there to encourage the competitors.
Passmore finished a creditable fifth in the boys’ event but was able to take so much more than a decent finish away from his stint at Quinta Do Lago.
“The week in Portugal at Justin Rose’s event was amazing,” said Passmore.
“It was an experience I will never forget. For Justin himself to turn up and speak with all the players was brilliant.
“I’m a huge admirer of his and was able to ask him lots of questions mostly about the mental side of the game.
“He always seems so mentally strong on the course and keeps his focus and that’s something I’d like to develop.”
Passmore has earned an England call-up for 2020 when he will compete in the European Boys’ team championships being held at Upsala Golf Club in Sweden in July.
The following month, England will defend their Home International crown at Killarney Golf Club in Ireland.
These team events figure high on Passmore’s list of priorities for the new year along with better showings in individual championships.
He added: “I went into the 2019 season with no expectations. I had had a couple of poor years really and decided to try and relax and try and play a more natural game.
“I made the quarter finals of the British Boys’ and I’d like to go further in 2020.
“I should look at things like the Carris and other boys’ events too.
“I’ve not been involved at England level before and that’s something I’m really looking forward to as I know the experience of these team events will help me develop.
“The way the 2019 season has ended has given me plenty of encouragement for 2020.”
Headline photograph credit: Leaderboard