ORLANDO, Fla. — Woody Austin shot a 12-under 59 on Friday in the Diamond Resorts Invitational, scoring 43 points in the modified Stableford event for PGA Tour Champions, LPGA Tour and celebrity players.
Coming off offseason hernia surgery, the 52-year-old Austin closed with a 3-foot par putt in pouring rain. He holed a 47-yard pitch for eagle on the par-5 ninth and had 10 birdies on the Four Seasons Resort’s 6,626-yard Tranquilo course. He earned six points for the eagle and three for each birdie.
Kevin Sutherland shot the only 59 in official PGA Tour Champions play, accomplishing the feat in the 2014 Dick’s Sporting Goods Open. On Thursday in the Sony Open in Hawaii, Justin Thomas had an 11-under 59 to become the seventh player with a sub-60 round in PGA Tour history.
Joe Durant was second in the pro competition with 34 points, followed by Brandt Jobe at 33, and Kenny Perry at 32. Lexi Thompson was tied for 13th with 26 points to top the four LPGA Tour players in the field. Brooke Henderson was tied for 23rd at 23, Brittany Lang was tied for 27th at 21, and Brittany Lincicome was last in the 31-player field with 16.
Former pitcher Mark Mulder led the celebrity field with 26 points. Former third baseman Troy Glaus was a point back, and Atlanta Braves executive John Hart was third with 23.
The women are playing from the same tees as the seniors in the $750,000 professional competition. The celebrities are playing for $500,000.
JOHANNESBURG — Rory McIlroy remained in contention in the SA Open despite a back problem that nearly forced him to withdraw before the round.
The second-ranked McIlroy shot a 4-under 68, leaving him three strokes behind leader Graeme Storm of England. McIlroy birdied five of the first six holes on the back nine, but bogeyed the final two.
“I’m actually surprised I’m standing here,” McIlroy said. “I actually thought about pulling out before even teeing off today. I tweaked my back somehow and the first few shots today weren’t very comfortable and it still isn’t really comfortable. I can’t really take a deep breath because I’ve done something to my upper back.”
Storm shot a course-record 63 at Glendower to reach 12-under 132. American Peter Uihlein (64) and South Africans Trevor Fisher Jr. (68), and Jbe Kruger (67) were two strokes back. Play was suspended at about 5 p.m. because of the threat of lightning, with 40 players unable to finish.
LATIN AMERICA AMATEUR
PANAMA CITY — Costa Rica’s Alvaro Ortiz shot a 4-under 66 to take the second-round lead in the Latin America Amateur Championship.
The winner Sunday will receive an exemption to the Masters and spots in the final stage of qualifying for the U.S. Open and British Open.
Ortiz had a 3-under 137 total at Panama Golf Club. Alejandro Villavicencio, a reinstated amateur from Guatemala, was a stroke back along with Brazil’s Herik Machado. Villavicencio shot 73, and Machado 67.
Julian Perico, the 17-year-old from Peru who opened with a tournament-record 64, had a 75 to drop into a tie for fourth with Bolivia’s Jose Luis Montano (72) at 1 under.