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Hayden Springer’s record-setting round of 59 fueled by tragedy
(Credit: Joseph Cress-USA TODAY Sports)

Hayden Springer’s record-setting round of 59 fueled by tragedy

(BVM) – On July 4, Hayden Springer carded the 14th sub-60 round in PGA Tour history, becoming the 13th player to ever shoot a 59 or better at golf’s top level.

“Kind of at a loss for words in terms of being able to do that,” Springer said following the round. “I feel like that’s one of the rare things in golf, so to kind of have that opportunity and to pull it off, it feels pretty special.”

Springer began his opening round at the John Deere Classic with a record-tying 8-under-par 27 on the front nine that included six birdies and an eagle. His hopes of a sub-60 round appeared to diminish following five straight pars to begin the back nine, but a birdie on hole 15 and a chip-in for eagle on hole 17 put him in position to shoot 59 with a birdie on the final hole. 

“When it went in on 17, I immediately knew, ‘Ok, now I have a chance,’” Springer said. “I didn’t ever think that I would make that shot really, but it kind of changed the momentum to actually be able to go shoot 59.”

After a sensational approach shot to just over 12 feet on the 18th hole, Springer sank his birdie putt to make history.

Springer’s round was just one stroke shy of the PGA Tour record 58 held by Jim Furyk – who posted a pair of sub-60 rounds in his career – and tied the course record at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois with Paul Goydos who also shot a 12-under-par 59 at the 2010 John Deere Classic.

The impressive score also comes just weeks after Cameron Young shot an 11-under-par 59 during the third round of the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands in Connecticut, and just shy of a year after Bryson DeChambeau carded a 58 to win his first-ever LIV Golf event at The Greenbrier.

Unfortunately for Springer, his game came back down to Earth on Friday during his 19th career PGA Tour event as he shot an even-par 71. He finished the weekend strong with rounds of 66 and 67 that resulted in a tie for seventh at 21-under-par, and actually ended the tournament with a better back nine than he had Thursday.

Regardless of what occurred over the weekend, Springer’s 59 on Independence Day will not be forgotten. Neither will what has been a difficult and tragic journey to get to this point for the 27-year-old.

Springer grew up in Trophy Club, Texas where he fittingly starred at Byron Nelson High School before beginning his collegiate career at Texas Tech in 2015. He became a Big 12 champion a few years later after transferring to TCU, defeating 2023 FedEx Cup champion Viktor Hovland in the process.

As he pursued his professional golf dream after college, Springer and his wife Emma – who he met at Texas Tech and was also a golfer for the Red Raiders – had their first child together in October 2020. However, Sage Elyse Springer was only expected to live a few days, and at most a couple of weeks, when it was discovered that she had a genetic chromosomal condition called Trisomy 18.

Despite Sage’s diagnosis, she continued to fight through and defy the odds, living for over three years before passing away on Nov. 13, 2023. 

“She was just a very joyful girl, and she really loved her life,” Emma said shortly after Sage passed away. “I think she just inspired joy in a lot of people, really made a lot of people feel joy and smile just knowing her … the joy that she brought to the world and others is really her in a nutshell. That’s a big part of her legacy, for sure.”

During those three years, Hayden spent multiple late nights alongside Sage, often not long after he competed in places like Brazil, Peru and Canada in order to make progress toward earning PGA Tour status.

Hayden Springer PGA Tour 2024 John Deere Classic 59 TPC Deere Run Illinois Sage Springer
Hayden Springer walks onto the 18th green during the final round of the John Deere Classic golf tournament. (Credit: Joseph Cress-USA TODAY Sports)

Hayden began competing on the Korn Ferry Tour back in 2020 and spent 2023 as a conditional member of the tour. After tying for 53rd at the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Wichita Open last summer, Hayden earned starts on PGA Tour Canada where he won two tournaments and jumped to the top of the Fortinet Cup standings.

That resulted in full Korn Ferry Tour status for the 27-year-old, but it also gave him the opportunity to reach the final stage of Q-School and qualify for the PGA Tour. Just a month after Sage died, Hayden earned one of five PGA Tour cards available, achieving his dream despite the emotional circumstances.

“It’s kind of one of those things that I think about her, and I just think about her smile,” Hayden said after earning his PGA Tour card. “Like that’s the thing that I can just close my eyes and think about her smiling, and it’s kind of a grounding, kind of gets you back to neutral. Not thinking about golf, not thinking about the last shot, the next shot, just thinking about her and her smile.”

In his first PGA Tour season, Hayden has made just shy of $800,000 in earnings, highlighted by a tie for third at the Puerto Rican Open in March. Despite some missed cuts in between, Hayden’s game has come on as of late with a tie for 10th at the Rocket Mortgage Classic to end June before his tie for seventh at TPC Deere Run.

Hayden Springer PGA Tour 2024 John Deere Classic 59 TPC Deere Run Illinois Sage Springer
Hayden Springer (right) talks with his caddie before hitting his tee shot on the second hole during the third round of the John Deere Classic golf tournament. (Credit: Joseph Cress-USA TODAY Sports)

Davis Thompson ultimately went on to win the 2024 John Deere Classic with a tournament record score of 28-under-par. Hayden doesn’t seem far off from securing his first PGA Tour win either, and proved the potential he has with his 59 on Thursday.

However, it’s hard to not already deem Hayden victorious with what he has accomplished in the face of adversity over the past few years. The Springer family’s loss of Sage will never be replaced, but Hayden, Emma and their second daughter Annie – who was born in 2022 – continue to thrive and move forward despite the tough circumstances.

“I don’t know if it gives me inner strength, but definitely tests you and you kind of have to find ways to work through it and to continue to move forward,” Hayden said following his record-setting round at TPC Deere Run. “Most of that is our faith for us, just leaning into that and knowing that we’re secure in that.

“We’ve had some challenging things happen. But at the end of the day I also want to compete and I love doing that.”

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