The lowest ever score in a major championship is 9-under, however. Afterall, his 63 in the final round of the 1973 U.S. Open at Oakmont stood as the gold standard of major golf scores for what feels like forever. Playing partner Paul Casey, who shot a three-under 67 to sit at level par, said: "I know when Rory (McIlroy) gets hot, Rory is unbelievable".
While 31 men before him had shot a 63 at a major championship, Grace was the first in 157 years of major play to beat them by a stroke. I understand that leads can be squandered quickly, and I also understand how you can keep on rolling on one. In the opening round of last year's Open, Phil Mickelson lipped out his own 18-foot putt for history.
"It makes it even more special now to be in the history books".
"You still have to do it out there", said Grace, who said par felt more like 67 than 70 because of the light wind and turf that was on the soft side. On NBC, Jim "Bones" Mackay, in his first stint as a regular announcer, said to Dan Hicks, "Dan, I gotta tell ya, don't tell Johnny I said this, but there's a 62 out there today".
His longtime caddie, Zack Rasego, knew about the record, but like a baseball teammate when his pitcher is throwing a no-hitter, never mentioned it.
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He was made to wait for further gains on the back nine, but a two at the par-three 14th was followed by consecutive birdies on 16 and 17. "That is sweet", Miller said from the broadcast booth at Royal Birkdale. So, I definitely lost a couple of shots there on the last couple of holes.
On the 18th, Grace calmly two-putted for par to secure the first 62 in major history. He did manage to make sure you knew the Royal Birkdale setup was "really, really easy" though. He missed a 3-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole and had to settle for a 63.
Grace took some of the blame for his struggles, citing the tinkering nature of golfers. I was just trying to finish the round without a bogey.
American Brooks Koepka, the U.S. Open champion, went round in 68 to finish at five under, level with 20-year-old Canadian Austin Connelly who continued his remarkable run at his first major with a 66.