Pietermaritzburg - When you think of Daniel Greene and Phil Mickelson, you’d be hard-pressed to come up with something they have in common.
Sunshine Tour rookie Greene, who is well ahead in the race to be Rookie of the Year with R201 560 in 32nd spot on the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit, plays right-handed, just for starters.
And “Lefty” Mickelson generally has more wedges in his bag than Greene has had top-10s in his fledgling professional golf career so far.
And Greene won’t be going to Augusta National for the Masters next week, either.
But they each shot a 58 a week ago. And that’s not a typographical error!
Greene’s round came in a Wednesday competition at the newly upgraded par-71 Victoria Country Club in Pietermaritzburg, where he recorded a 13-under-par 58. The 6 156-metre course reopened in April 2007, having been remodelled by Golf Data.
Mickelson made his 58 ahead of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at the Plantation course in Southern California that he decided to play as preparation.
His round included 12 birdies and an eagle on a 6 440-metre course designed by Fred Couples, with matching 29s on the front and back side.
“It was one of those days,” said Greene of his round. “I just got the ball in the hole a lot quicker than I normally do,” he laughed.
The club had a 59 recorded on the course before the redesign, so this 58 has recalibrated the record books appropriately.
His round was played with fellow Sunshine Tour pro Andre Ferreira, local Howick doctor Neil Shearer and Ben Erasmus, one of Ferreira’s friends.
“We won by only one point,” said Greene. “I was hitting everything reasonably close and I chipped in twice on the last three holes.”
Mickelson went to Palm Springs because the greens at Plantation are the same grass as at Bay Hill.
“I ended up getting the putter going there as well, and shot 58. That was fun. Fun little course,” he said.
While it was only a practice round, his caddie Jim “Bones” McKay vouched for its authenticity: “He always plays from the back of the back tees. He told me the last two birdies he made were very tough,” he told an ESPN reporter.
Greene, who had a share of third in the Dimension Data Pro-Am, was surprised to hear of Mickelson’s round.
“Tell him he’s in good company,” he said.