Al Brosch: Golfer Who Shot First 60 Ever on PGA Tour

Golfer Al Brosch
Al Brosch was a golf professional from the 1930s into the 1970s, and played on the PGA Tour. While he was the king of PGA Professional tournaments on Long Island, he never won on the PGA Tour. But he definitely made his mark: Brosch was the first golfer in PGA Tour history to record an 18-hole score of 60 during tournament play. And he held that scoring record for more than 25 years.

Full name: Albert Wenzel Brosch

Date of birth: November 8, 1911

Place of birth: Farmingdale, New York

Date and place of death: December 10, 1975 in Mineola, New York

Nickname: Red

Shooting the First 60 in PGA Tour History

Who was the first golfer in PGA Tour history to shoot 60 in an official tour event? Al Brosch. It happened during the third round of the 1951 Texas Open.

The date was February 10, 1951. The golf course was Brackenridge in San Antonio, then a 6,400-yard track described by the Associated Press as "dusty" and "battered." It was a par-71, so Brosch's 60 that day was also the first time a golfer went 11-under-par for a round in a PGA Tour tournament.

Brosch was 29 years old at the time and was the head pro at Cherry Valley Club in Garden City, New York. The San Antonio Express newspaper called him a "bespectacled redhead," while the San Antonio Light went with "a slightly built, freckled native New Yorker."

Brosch shot 30 on the front nine, 30 on the back nine. He hit 16 of 18 greens and needed 24 putts. He had six birdies on the front nine and five more on the back nine. Those back-nine birdies included the 16th, 17th and 18th holes. On that final hole, needing a birdie to break the tour scoring record, Brosch rolled in a 12-footer for his 60.

Sixty-three of the 95 golfers in the field broke par that day, and a 62 was also recorded. Brosch's 60 put him at 198 after three rounds, one stroke off the lead of Doug Ford. For the tournament, Brosch had rounds of 69-69-60-70 for a 268 total. He finished in solo fourth place, three strokes out of a playoff between Ford and Dutch Harrison. Harrison won the playoff and the tournament.

Whose record did Brosch break? The first 61 had been posted only one year earlier by Dow Finsterwald, playing as an amateur, in the 1950 St. Louis Open. Brosch's 60 also, of course, broke the previous Texas Open record. That was 62, first set by Lawson Little in 1941 and matched by Jimmy Demaret in 1947. Demaret was Brosch's playing partner during the record-round of 60.

The Brackenridge Golf Course in San Antonio was notorious in the 1950s for allowing very low scores in the Texas Open. Three of the first six 60s ever shot on the PGA Tour happened there: In addition to Brosch's, Ted Kroll had a 60 at Brackenridge in 1954, and Mike Souchak did it in 1957 with a then-record 27 on the front nine.

In 1952, Jack Burke Jr. won the Texas Open with a score of 260, one off the then-tour record. In 1954, Chandler Harper won with a record-tying 259. In 1957, Souchak won with a 257 that stood for decades as the PGA Tour 72-hole scoring record.

Brosch In the Majors

Brosch played in 29 majors among the Masters, U.S. Open and PGA Championship, first appearing in the 1934 U.S. Open and last in the 1962 PGA Championship. In those starts, he recorded three Top 10 finishes.

Brosch was the 36-hole leader at the 1949 U.S. Open after rounds of 70 and 71. He added a 73 in the third round, which dropped him to third but only three off the lead. But he finished well down the list after a final-round 79.

His best showing in a major was finishing solo sixth in the 1937 U.S. Open. He tied for 10th in the 1951 U.S. Open. In the 1951 PGA Championship, Brosch reached the quarterfinals before losing, 1-down, to Charlie Bassler in 37 holes. Brosch also reached the Round of 16 in the PGA Championships of 1940 and 1949, and finished 13th in the 1948 U.S. Open.

More About Al Brosch

Al Brosch was born on Long Island, New York, worked as the golf pro at multiple clubs on Long Island, won a lot of PGA of America tournaments on Long Island, and died on Long Island.

He got into the game when he began caddying for another Long Island resident, railroad magnate B.F. Yoakum. Yoakum played at exclusive clubs in exclusive enclaves. After he died, his country estate in Farmingdale, New York, was sold by his heirs to the State of New York, which turned the property into Bethpage State Park.

The golf courses at Bethpage today remain nationally famous, especially Bethpage Black. And Al Brosch, by 1936, was one of the golf pros working at Bethpage. As a Bethpage Black pro, Brosch frequently took part in exhibitions there, playing alongside the biggest names on the PGA Tour.

And while Brosch first played in PGA Tour tournaments himself in 1933, his career was always focused on being a club professional. In addition to Bethpage, he also worked at the Long Island clubs of Woodmere, Cherry Valley and Sands Point.

Brosch wrote an article for the August 1949 issue of the USGA Journal titled "The Club Pro in Competition," in which he wrote, "When one of us (club pros) is fortunate enough, as I was last June, to lead the Open field through even 36 holes, I look upon it as a miracle and do not attempt to explain it." That was a reference to Brosch's performance in the 1949 U.S. Open.

Brosch continued, explaining the hurdles faced by club pros who also took their shots on the tour: "My job is two-sided. I am both professional and golf-course superintendent at the Cherry Valley Club. From March 15 to the time of the (U.S.) Open Championship, I gave approximately 300 lessons and superintended the conditioning of the course. Spring is the season when members most need lessons, after their winter lay-off, and it is the season when the course and shop require a good deal of care."

Brosch took his shots though. While he didn't win a PGA Tour event, he made more than 120 cuts over his sporadic tour career. That included a career-best runner-up finish in the 1951 St. Petersburg Open.

But on Long Island, Brosch was the man to beat in local and regional PGA chapter tournaments. He dominated that scene, with these victories:

  • Metropolitan PGA: 1938, 1941, 1947, 1950, 1952, 1959
  • Long Island PGA: 1939, 1940, 1942, 1947, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1959, 1960
  • Long Island Open: 1939, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1953, 1956, 1959
That's 10 wins in the Long Island Open and nine in the Long Island PGA, both tournament records, plus six in The Met. It's no wonder that Brosch, in 1975, was given the PGA Metropolitan Section's highest award, the Sam Snead Award, recognizing contributions to golf, or that Brosch, today, is a member of the Metropolitan PGA Hall of Fame.

Brosch's second-place finish in St. Petersburgh in 1951 (the year he also finished 10th in the U.S. Open and reached the PGA Championship quarterfinals) followed by three weeks his score of 60 in the Texas Open. Six other golfers followed Brosch in the 1950s with rounds of 60, but there were zero such rounds on the PGA Tour from 1958 until 1990.

Brosch held onto to the PGA Tour's 18-hole scoring record for 26 years, until 1977, when Al Geiberger recorded the first 59. Brosch didn't live to see his record fall, however: He was only 64 years old at the time of his death in 1975. He had made his last PGA Tour appearance in 1962, and had been the head pro at Sands Point Golf Club since 1961.

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