SILVIS, Ill. --- After four months of pretty lousy play on the PGA Tour, Paul Goydos managed to turn things around just a bit -- he shot 59.
Out of nowhere.
"Today was a nuclear bomb," Goydos said of his 12-under round. "I don't know where it came from. If I knew that, I wouldn't be able to touch it."
Perhaps just as amazing, Goydos led by only one stroke.
Defending John Deere Classic champion Steve Stricker shot 60 -- and just missed tying Goydos on the last hole.
Goydos has missed almost as many cuts as he's made. He hasn't had a top 40 finish since early May. He led the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in February by a stroke with five holes to play, only to tumble out of contention with an embarrassing quadruple-bogey 9 on No. 14.
"I've been very good at playing poorly now for the last 10 tournaments or so," Goydos said.
Goydos, with only two victories in his 18 years on the PGA Tour, became only the fourth player in tour history to shoot 59 with an amazing opening round Thursday.
His tee shots found the middle of the fairway. His approaches stuck on the green. And, most importantly, his putts found the middle of the cup over and over again.
Stricker's almost did, too.
His second shot on the par-4 18th bounced on the green and appeared to be heading for the cup. But it curled around at the last second, leaving him an easy 2-footer for the 11th birdie in his bogey-free round.
Goydos needed just 22 putts to dominate the wet TPC Deere Run course, which was softened by three days of intermittent rain. Players were allowed to lift, clean and place their ball on the fairway.
Goydos birdied every hole on the back nine except for No. 15, where he holed a 6-foot par putt to keep alive his hopes. He finished off with three birdies, the last one from 7 feet to join the most exclusive club in golf.