Los Angeles - Canada's Adam Hadwin became only the eighth golfer to shoot 59 over 18 holes at a US PGA Tour event, sinking 13 birdies in a bogey-free third round Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge.
The 29-year-old from suburban Vancouver was one stroke off the tour record 58 fired last year by American Jim Furyk at the Travelers Championship.
It was the second US PGA Tour 59 in as many weeks, following American Justin Thomas firing 59 on the way to victory in the opening round at last week's Sony Open in Hawaii.
Asked to describe the round, Hadwin said, "Perfect, I guess. I got away with a few shots on the back. For whatever reason, I was making every putt I had.
"I haven't felt anything like it."
Hadwin became only the second player from outside the United States to shoot a 59 in a US PGA event, after Australian Stuart Appleby at the 2010 Greenbrier Classic, and the PGA's first 59-er who has never won a PGA title.
"I was nervous," Hadwin said. "It's exciting to get the nerves back and have a chance to be in contention again."
Hadwin birdied the second through seventh holes at par-72 LaQuinta Country Club, one of three courses used at the event, then made another at the ninth hole.
The Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan-born player began a run of five more birdies at the 11th hole and after a par at 16 sank a five-foot birdie putt at 17 to match the one-round birdie record set by Chip Beck in 1991.
"Once the putt rolled in on 17, that helped," Hadwin said. "I knew all I had to do (for 59) was par the last."
On 18, Hadwin put his approach into the greenside rough beyond the hole, then chipped the ball three feet past the cup and rolled in his tense final putt to join a historic group.
"I was nervous. I knew what was at stake," Hadwin said. "The last thing you want to do is miss a 3-footer when you're shooting for 59."
Hadwin managed only the fourth US PGA 59 on a par-72 course, the first since David Duval in 1999 at the nearby Palmer course, which was then among the layouts in the tournament's rotation.
The only other US PGA 59s on a par-72 course were by Beck in the third round in 1991 at Las Vegas and Al Geiberger, who made the first-ever 59 in the second round at Memphis in 1977.
Hadwin, who shared 49th when the day began, leaped into the lead at 17-under par 199 for 54 holes, one stroke ahead of American Dominic Bozzelli. Hadwin opened with a 71 and fired a 69 Friday.
Hadwin's prior US PGA low round was 63 in the final round of the 2014 Shriners Hospitals Classic in Las Vegas.
Crediting playing partner Colt Knost with keeping tensions light, Hadwin said having amateurs alongside as the tournament does also eased the pressure.
"Colt is great, very laid back," Hadwin said. "And this atmosphere lends itself to low scores. Playing with the amateurs, you forget about what you're doing a little bit.
"It was a lot of fun."
Bozzelli, like Hadwin seeking his first PGA title, fired a 69 Saturday on the Nicklaus course.
"I've been riding a hot putter these last couple days," Bozzelli said. "When I've been getting in trouble, I've been doing a good job of getting out and scrambling all week."
While 196th-ranked Hadwin stole the show, world number 321 Bozzelli had confidence about his quest for a breakthrough victory.
"I've been trying to get into this position for the last 15 or 20 years," he said. "Excited to be here and looking forward to tomorrow."
Leading scores after Saturday's third round of the US PGA Career Builder Challenge played on the La Quinta, Nicklaus Tournament and Stadium courses at La Quinta, California (USA unless noted):
199 - Adam Hadwin (CAN) 71-69-59
200 - Dominic Bozzelli 64-67-69
201 - Hudson Swafford 65-65-71, Brian Harman 67-65-69, Bud Cauley 69-67-65, Chad Campbell 66-69-66
202 - Brendan Steele 68-64-70, Chris Kirk 69-66-68
203 - Robert Garrigus 68-69-66
204 - Geoff Ogilvy (AUS) 67-69-68, Grayson Murray 68-69-67, Ricky Werenski 69-67-68
205 - Anirban Lahiri (IND) 69-72-64, Charles Howell 67-68-70, Martin Laird (SCO) 68-66-71, Sean O'Hair 67-69-69, Chez Reavie 68-70-67
206 - Kim Whee (KOR) 70-73-63, Andres Gonzales 69-72-65, Greg Owen (ENG) 67-67-72
207 - Luke List 67-70-70, Bryce Molder 69-68-70, Jon Rahm (ESP) 71-66-70, Zac Blair 67-69-71, Danny Lee (NZL)