As if the recent string of sub-60 scores in professional golf weren’t enough, a teenager has added his name to the mix.
Happy early birthday, Bobby Wyatt.
Wyatt, of Mobile, Ala., who turns 18 on Sunday, shot 14-under 57 on Wednesday during the second round of the Alabama Boys State Junior Championship.
Wyatt made 12 birdies and an eagle at the par-71, 6,638-yard Country Club of Mobile, a course where his family has held membership since Wyatt started playing golf at age 4.
His front-nine 26 included seven birdies and an eagle. He birdied Nos. 10 and 11 to get to 11 under through 11 holes, and closed with birdies on Nos. 13, 16 and 17 before making par on the 410-yard, par-4 18th.
“It was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen with my own two eyes,” said Trey Mullinax, who played alongside Wyatt. “It was the smoothest swing I’ve seen from Bobby in a long time, and I’ve known him for a very long time.”
Wyatt, who lives in a house about a mile from the course, has played only one other competitive event at the Country Club of Mobile. His low round in that event was 67.
“I usually go out there, hit shots and kind of mess around,” Wyatt said. “I never really keep score.”
Wyatt was at 17-under 125 for the event, eight shots ahead of Smylie Kaufman. The 54-hole events concludes Thursday. Wyatt is playing in his eighth consecutive Alabama Junior, an event he was won three consecutive times in the 16-18 age division.
“When I was standing on No. 8 tee, it hit me that I was 7 under through seven,” Wyatt said. “I told myself, ‘Just play 5 under from here.’ I tried not to think about my score. But then I birdied No. 8 and 9 and that gave me 26 on the front.”
That’s when a small group started to follow Wyatt’s group, including some of his father’s friends who congratulated him as he made his way to the 10th tee box. Wyatt said he had to consciously regroup mentally and stop focusing on his incredible score.
But after birdies at Nos. 10 and 11, that became even tougher.
“He goes, ‘Holy crap, I’m 11 under through 11 holes,’ ” Mullinax said. “I said, ‘Play like you’re 10 over. Battle. Don’t start playing for pars. Play aggressive like you have been.’ ”
Other sub-60 rounds in 2010
• July 21: Trevor Murphy shoots 56 in Nationwide pro-am
After a par at No. 12, Wyatt hit hybrid from a fairway bunker to the green at the 505-yard, par-5 13th and two-putted for birdie to get to 12 under. He missed a 8-footer for birdie on No. 14, then made his “biggest putt of the day,” an 8-footer for par on the 15th hole, the only green he missed all day.
“I knew I was 12 under at that point,” said Wyatt, who hit 10 fairways and took 23 putts. “I really started to think 59. I tried not to, but I couldn’t help it.”
He followed with a 20-footer for birdie at No. 16, then layed up to 80 yards on the 549-yard, par-5 17th and got up-and-down for his 12th birdie of the day. When his 15-foot birdie bid on No. 18 slid by the hole, Wyatt tapped in, waved to the crowd – estimated at 100 people by that point – and hugged Mullinax. Hugs from his parents, who also were on site, came next.
“I’ve played (the Country Club of Mobile) at least a thousand times,” Wyatt said. “I was hitting the shots I’ve hit all my life. It really allowed me to just play shot by shot.”
Still, the round came out of left field. Wyatt, No. 5 in the Golfweek Junior Rankings, lost in the first round of match play last week at the U.S. Junior Amateur at Egypt Valley Country Club in Ada, Mich. He missed the cut earlier this summer at the Dogwood Invitational and Southern Amateur. He said a balky putter has been keeping him from the form that helped him win the AJGA HP Boys Championship in February and the AJGA Junior Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass last September.
“I’ve really been working hard with my psychologist about staying patient,” Wyatt said. “It came together for me today.”
Wyatt will attempt to qualify next week for the U.S. Amateur, then he and Mullinax will move into an off-campus apartment at the University of Alabama on Aug. 13 to start their freshman year with the Crimson Tide.
“It was a great feeling to see your friend do that,” Mullinax said. “It was a great experience. It couldn’t happened to a better guy.”