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Goydos shoots 59 at John Deere Classic

Photo by Daniel Kay

Photo by Daniel Kay

SILVIS, Ill. -- After four months of pretty lousy play on the PGA Tour, Paul Goydos managed to turn things around just a bit -- he shot a 59.

Out of nowhere.

"Today was a nuclear bomb," Goydos said. "I don't know where it came from. If I knew that, I wouldn't be able to touch it."

Perhaps just as amazing, Goydos held only a one-stroke lead Thursday after an incredible opening round at the John Deere Classic.

Defending champion Steve Stricker shot a 60, making for the two lowest scores ever in a single round at a PGA event. And he just missed tying Goydos on the last hole.

With the par-71 TPC Deere Run course softened by three days of intermittent rain, a lot of golfers were expected to go low.

But the fourth 59 in tour history and then a 60 on the same day?

No one could have expected that.

"I've been very good at playing poorly now for the last 10 tournaments or so," Goydos said.

Not anymore.

His tee shots found the middle of the fairway. His approaches stuck on the green. And, most important, his putts found the middle of the cup again and again.

Stricker's almost did, too.

His second shot on the par-4 18th bounced on the green and appeared to be heading for the cup. But it curled around at the last second, leaving him an easy 2-footer for the 11th birdie in his bogey-free round.

Stricker kept alive his hopes of catching Goydos by salvinging par on No. 14 after hitting into a bunker left of the green. After another par on 15, he closed with three straight birdies.

Goydos, who hasn't won on the tour since 2007 and has just two victories in 18 years overall, needed only 22 putts to dominate the soggy course.

The 59 was the first on the tour since David Duval's memorable final round helped him win the 1999 Bob Hope Classic.

WIE'S MISERY: Temperatures were in the 90s. Michelle Wie was in the 80s. On a demanding day when tough old Oakmont Country Club illustrated again that playing par golf can be an achievement, only Brittany Lang was in the 60s.

Lang withstood Oakmont's slick, sun-browned greens and the unrelenting heat to shoot a 2-under 69 on Thursday and take a one-shot lead over 2008 champion Inbee Park, amateur Kelli Shean and three others in the first round of the U.S. Women's Open.

Wie, the world No. 10-ranked golfer and the LPGA Tour's longest driver, didn't alter her aggressive style on a course that demands patience. She paid the price with her worst round since 2007.