Atlantic Beach - Sam Saunders, who is the grandson of
golfing icon Arnold Palmer, started quickly in the season-ending Web.com Tour
Championship on Thursday with a 12-under 59, becoming the seventh player in
Tour history to break 60.
Playing on his home course at the Atlantic Beach Country
Club, Saunders posted 13 birdies for a three-stroke lead over fellow Americans
Matt Atkins and Steve Wheatcroft, who both shot 62.
Scoring conditions were ideal on Thursday as Canada' Ben
Silverman and Tyler Duncan are tied for fourth with 63s. And with five others
at seven-under 64, it means there are nine golfers within five shots of
Saunders heading into the second round.
But only Saunders was able to break 60 with the help of
three straight birdies beginning at No. 10. His only blemish was a bogey on the
"It was fun. You know, it was a good time out there and
it was a real special day. Certainly memorable," said Saunders.
"Honestly, it just felt like a regular day at home playing our little
money game and I got into a good rhythm. It was a blast."
Saunders joins Notah Begay, Doug Dunakey, Jason Gore, Willy
Wilcox and Russell Knox as players to shoot 59 on the USPGA Tour's development
circuit. At the 2016 Ellie Mae Classic, Stephan Jaeger became the first player
in history to record 58 on the Tour.