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Oliver Fisher fires first-ever 59 to enter record books

 

By Phil Casey

England's Oliver Fisher carded the first 59 in European Tour history on day two of the Portugal Masters in Vilamoura.

Fisher fired an eagle and 10 birdies in a bogey-free round of 12 under par as the magical 60 barrier was finally broken after 46 years and almost 700,000 rounds.

There had previously been 19 rounds of 60 on the European Tour, with Darren Clarke the only man to do so twice and South Africa's Brandon Stone the most recent in July, when he achieved the feat in the final round of his Scottish Open win.

An opening 71 had left Fisher worrying about missing a third straight cut, but the 30-year-old from Essex birdied the first three holes, holed a bunker shot for an eagle on the fifth and also birdied the sixth and eighth to reach the turn in 28.

A hat-trick of birdies from the 10th meant the record was in Fisher's sights and after another gain on the 15th was followed by a crucial par save on the 16th, the former Walker Cup player birdied the 17th to leave himself needing a par on the last to make history.

And two years after carding a closing 64 in the same event to keep his European Tour card, Fisher narrowly missed a long birdie attempt before tapping in for par and being drenched in champagne by fellow Englishman Matt Wallace.

"It's a great feeling," Fisher said. "It feels great to make history here in Portugal. It's a great tournament and it's great for the European Tour and obviously myself to shoot 59.

"I was chuffed with the day. When I went out I was at level par and trying to make the cut, and then shooting that... it was just a great day all round.

"I missed a couple of chances on seven and nine, so I could have quite easily been out in nine under. I got on to a run around 10, 11, 12, so then I was thinking 59 was on the cards with 15 and 17 ahead of me.

"The big hole for me was 16. I hit a poor shot into the green and had a tough decision to make whether I chipped it or putted it. I went with the putter and left it a long way short and managed to hole a 20-footer for par.

"After that it was about hitting a couple of good drives on 17 and 18 which I did, and I just tried to enjoy it really. I said on the back of the 16th green it's not very often that we get a chance like this so just hit a couple of good drives and enjoy it.

"If it happens it happens, and if it doesn't it doesn't. It's quite easy when you're in that position to be quite tentative, but I got my driver going really well, which was really important."

He added: "It's a very different feeling here in 2018 compared to what it was like back in 2016. That was in the back of my mind. I got a great round going on that Sunday, and it was a matter of keeping things going. I felt like I had done it before, so that was a good thing to look back on."

When play finished for the day, Fisher's historic score left him in a tie for the lead on 12 under par alongside Eddie Pepperell and Lucas Herbert, with Matt Wallace a shot behind.

Spain's Sergio Garcia bogeyed the last three holes to fall six shots off the pace, with fellow Ryder Cup player Thorbjorn Olesen another stroke back on five under.

Meanwhile, Holland's Anne van Dam holds a four-shot lead at the halfway stage of the Estrella Damm Mediterranean Ladies Open after a second successive 64.

Van Dam (22) carded seven birdies at Club de Golf Terramar in Sitges to post a halfway total of 14 under par, with Spain's Carmen Alonso on 10 under after a 65.

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