Goydos put together his 12-under, bogey-free round on the opening day of the John Deere Classic. He made the turn at 4-under, birdied all but one hole on the back nine at the 7,257-yard TPC Deere Run course and capped Thursday's sizzling round by knocking in a 7-foot birdie putt on the par-4 18th.
He raised his club to acknowledge the roar from the crowd and accepted high-fives on the way to the clubhouse.
"It's almost a mythical number in our game," said Goydos, a 46-year-old pro from Dove Canyon, Calif.
It's the first 59 on the tour since David Duval went that low in a memorable final round at the 1999 Bob Hope Classic. Duval also was playing in the Deere Classic, beginning his round in the afternoon. The other 59s were by Al Geiberger in 1977 and Chip Beck in 1991.
The crowd grew steadily as Goydos' score kept dropping. Even fellow players Notah Begay and J.J. Henry dropped by to watch his attempt to make history.
The final putt was like most of the others Goydos rolled in with his cross-handed grip — right in the middle of the cup.
"Standing over that last putt, I was probably as nervous as I've ever been over a putt in my life," he said. "The putt would have gone in thimble."
On greens softened by three days of intermittent rain, Goydos also drained putts of 39 feet on par-4 No. 11 and nearly 25 feet on the par-4 13th. On No. 12, a par 3, Goydos hit his tee shot to inside 20 feet, then tapped the ball and watched it inch into the hole for yet another birdie.
"Gravity is the best friend I have," Goydos told Jonathan Byrd and Cliff Kresge, his playing partners for the magical round.
Not bad for a guy who has just two top 10 finishes this year, hasn't won since the 2007 Sony Open and suffered through the embarrassment of a 9 on a hole at this year's AT&T Pebble Beach National in February. Goydos, on the tour since 1989, is ranked 137th in the world.
"I've gone from clubbing a ball in the backyard all the way to the moon, and missed all the steps in between," Goydos said.
His 8-under 28 on the back nine matched the lowest nine-hole score in relation to par in PGA history. Corey Pavin shot an 8-under 26 in the first round of the 2006 U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee.