PGA Tour Record: Most Strokes Under Par, 72 Holes

How low can they go? How many strokes, that is, under par are PGA Tour players capable of scoring in a 72-hole tournament? It took until 2003 before any PGA Tour golfer finished at 30-under, but several more have since joined that club.

What we're talking about here is the PGA Tour record for score in relation to par. Or, to put it another way, the most strokes under par. For the list of lowest such scores below, we are (following the PGA Tour's lead) only considering scores from 72-hole tournaments. But there are a few notes below the list that you might find interesting, too.

The Record-Holder: Cameron Smith, 34-Under-Par

Cameron Smith established the current PGA Tour record for most strokes under par in a 72-hole tournament in the 2022 Sentry Tournament of Champions with a score of 34-under.

His total was 258 after shooting two rounds of 64 and two rounds of 65 during the event. And he needed every one of those saved strokes because Smith finished just one shot ahead of the runner-up. In fact, the first-, second- and third-place finishers in the tournament take up positions 1, 2 and 3 in the list below of lowest PGA Tour scores in relation to par.

Smith recorded 31 birdies in the tournament, a total that was, at the time, the second-most birdies in a 72-hole tournament in PGA Tour history. (Runner-up Jon Rahm tied the record in the same tournament with 32 birdies.) Smith also had three eagles during the tournament. He was bogey-free after the 20th hole.

The List: Most Strokes Under Par, 72-Hole PGA Tour Tournament

  • 34-under: Cameron Smith, 2022 Sentry Tournament of Champions (65-64-64-65—258), Kapalau Resort Plantation Course (par-73) in Kapalua, Hawaii
  • 33-under: Jon Rahm, 2022 Sentry Tournament of Champions (66-66-61-66—259), Kapalau Resort Plantation Course (par-73) in Kapalua, Hawaii
  • 32-under: Matt Jones, 2022 Sentry Tournament of Champions (70-67-62-61—260), Kapalau Resort Plantation Course (par-73) in Kapalua, Hawaii
  • 31-under: Ernie Els, 2003 Mercedes Championships (64-65-65-67—261), Kapalau Resort Plantation Course (par-73) in Kapalua, Hawaii
  • 30-under: Dustin Johnson, 2020 The Northern Trust (67-60-64-63—254), TPC Boston (par-71) in Norton, Massachusetts
  • 30-under: Jordan Spieth, 2016 Hyundai Tournament of Champions (66-64-65-67—262), Kapalau Resort Plantation Course (par-73) in Kapalua, Hawaii
What jumps out? Right: So far, all but one of the 30-under-and-lower final scores in PGA Tour history have happened in the same tournament played at the same golf course. The tournament is the season-opening Tournament of Champions, the golf course is Kapalau in Hawaii. And the top three spots in the list above are by golfers who recorded their strokes-under-par feats the same week, in the 2022 Sentry Tournament of Champions at Kapalua.

What is it about Kapalau that can, obviously, make it play very easy for PGA Tour pros? For one, it has very wide fairways, and, although it is very long, many holes have downhill runs. And the PGA Tour plays Kapalua as a par-73 course. If they played it as a par-72 instead, then only Smith would have reached 30-under.

The only non-Kapalau score on the list above is Johnson's, made all the more impressive because his 30-under happened on a par-71 golf course. A few more achievements of note when it comes to finishing under par:

First to finish 29-under on the PGA Tour: Els at Kapalua in 2003. Nobody had gone lower than 28-under to that point, so Els' 30-under gets this distinction, too.

First to finish 28-under on the PGA Tour: John Huston at the 1998 Hawaiian Open

First to finish 27-under on the PGA Tour: Mike Souchak at the 1955 Texas Open

Also note that in the past the PGA Tour included some five-round (90-hole) tournaments. Joe Durant recorded a score of 36-under-par in the 2001 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, and several others also bettered 30-under in that event over the years. But, of course, they had an extra 18 holes to do it, and the PGA Tour record for most strokes under par in a tournament is specifically about 72-hole (four-round) tournaments.

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