9-Hole PGA Tour Record for Fewest Putts

Which golfers, in the history of the PGA Tour, managed to play nine holes — the front nine or the back nine — taking the fewest putts? The all-time record is six putts for nine holes on the PGA Tour, and that record is shared by three golfers.

The three golfers who managed to play the front nine or back nine of a PGA Tour tournament round using only six putts are Stan Utley, Chris Riley and Marcus Fraser. Utley did it in 2002, Riley in 2003 and Fraser in 2017.

Which, of course, makes Utley the first golfer to establish this record. How did he do it? It happened in the 2002 Air Canada Championship, where Utley needed only six putts to play the entire front nine of his second round.

Utley had six one-putt greens on that front nine, and three other times holed out from just off the green — twice chipping in, once using putter (but in PGA Tour stats, using putter from off the green is not counted as a putt). That was good enough to set a new PGA Tour record, but it wasn't good enough for him to make the cut. Utley had carded a 79 in the first round, and finished with a 72 in the second round. Over the back nine of that second round, Utley used 14 putts, so finished with 20 putts for the round.

Utley later became a highly regarded short game coach. In his book, The Art of Putting: The Revolutionary Feel-Based System for Improving Your Score (affiliate link), Utley wrote about that day:

"Everybody asks me if the hole looked huge that day. Actually, it didn't feel like anything out of the ordinary. I missed a lot of greens and made some nice putts to get up-and-down, but the big thing was that I chipped in twice. That record is more a testament to my short game than to my putting."

The List: Fewest Putts, 9 Holes, on the PGA Tour

6 putts
  • Stan Utley, front nine, second round, 2002 Air Canada Championship
  • Chris Riley, back nine, first round, 2003 Honda Classic
  • Marcus Fraser, back nine, second round, 2017 CIMB Classic
7 putts
  • Bill Nary, back nine, third round, 1952 El Paso Open
It was Nary's whose record Utley broke in 2002. Nary needed only seven putts on the back nine of the third round of the 1952 El Paso Open, a round in which Nary shot the second round of 60 in PGA Tour history. It was 50 years before anyone broke Nary's record. Plenty of golfers had nines with just eight putts between 1952 and 2002, including Jim Colbert, Sam Trahan, Bill Calfee, Kenny Knox and John Inman. But nobody beat Nary's seven putts until Utley needed only six putts in 2002.

More golf records:

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