IRVING, Texas — Keegan Bradley had no thoughts about a course record, or the possibility of a 59, after consecutive bogeys in the middle of his opening round at the Byron Nelson Championship.
Until his 136-yard wedge shot on his final hole Thursday.
“It was going right at it. (A 59) crossed my mind for a second, and it would be unbelievable if I buried this,” Bradley said. “But I had 3 feet to shoot 60. I was actually very nervous, uncomfortable over it and thank God I made it.”
Bradley shot 10-under 60, completed by that short birdie at the 428-yard ninth hole, to break the TPC Four Seasons course record and match the best round ever at the Nelson. He topped his career PGA Tour best by three strokes and equaled Phil Mickelson’s opening 60 at Phoenix as the best round on the tour this season.
After missing the fairways off the tees and making bogeys at No. 18 and then No. 1, the latter starting his back nine when he drove into a bunker and had a par putt lip out of the cup, Bradley was at 3 under.
He made a 17-foot birdie putt at the 221-yard second hole, and was 7 under his final eight holes with an eagle-birdie-birdie finish.
“It was rare to match up a ball-striking day and make everything. … It happened today,” Bradley said. “The hole looked huge. Even the putts I missed almost went in.”
The 60, with 10 birdies and an eagle 3 at the 542-yard seventh, gave Bradley a three-stroke lead over 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel.
Robert Karlsson, Harris English and Ted Potter Jr. shot 64, and two-time major champion Angel Cabrera, Ryan Palmer and Camilo Villegas were at 65.
Guan Tianlang, the 14-year-old amateur from China, shot 70 in his second tournament since making the cut at the Masters. The eighth-grader also made the cut in New Orleans three weeks ago.
Guan was among 97 players at par or better — 76 were under par — on the 7,166-yard course after 1½ inches of rain fell on the course Wednesday night from a storm system that spawned at least 13 tornadoes and killed at least six people in North Texas. There was no significant damage to the course, where players were able to lift, clean and place their golf balls in the fairways.