Who Is the Youngest Golfer to Shoot His Age on the PGA Tour?

golfer Sam Snead sitting in golf cart, 1959
Even for the world's best golfers, shooting one's age — scoring 65 at age 65, for example — is something that, for most of them, isn't all that common. It's especially not common on the professional tours. But it has happened on the PGA Tour, and the youngest-ever golfer who shot his age in a PGA Tour tournament was 67 years old.

And it was a legend who set the record: Sam Snead. The Slammer was 67 years old when, during the second round of the 1979 Quad Cities Open, he fired a 67. It happened on July 20.

Snead didn't just set the record — he was, newspapers reported, the first-known golfer in PGA Tour history to shoot his age. So he was the first, and, at age 67, also set a record as youngest that still stands today.

Snead got the tournament off to a great start with an eagle on his very first hole, and shot 70 in that first round. His 3-under 67 in Round 2 got him to the weekend. At the time, he was the oldest golfer to make a cut on the PGA Tour, a record he broke a few weeks later. Snead was five strokes off the lead after two rounds, tied for 25th place. But he fell down the leaderboard in the third round with a 74.

In the fourth and final round, Snead outdid himself: He shot 66, one stroke below his age. That made him the first golfer in PGA Tour history to beat his age.

Snead's second-round feat — matching his age — didn't receive all that much attention, really: Newspaper accounts mentioned it, but mostly just in passing. Beating his age in the final round got more attention, though. The New York Times put it in its headline about the Quad Cities Open, for example, and led their story with it:

"Sam Snead, one of golf's legends, shot a 66 today in the final round of the $200,000 Quad Cities open to become the first man ever to shoot below his age on the PGA Tour. He finished the tournament at three under par, well back of D.A. Weibring, who held off a charging Calvin Peete to gain his first tour victory."
Snead's 66 was 4-under-par and got him into the clubhouse at 277, 11 strokes behind Weibring's winning 266.

"Snead professed to be unimpressed with his round," the Times reported. The paper quoted Snead: "I don't feel any different than I did 10 years ago, except maybe a little heavier. When you get up around 67, most of them (other PGA Tour pros) have either quit or are dead. There's not many of them still around."

Will Snead's record be broken some day? Probably! Most records are, and the record for youngest golfer to shoot his age on the PGA Tour has stood for a long time now. But the fact is, very few golfers in their 60s play PGA Tour events anymore. In 1979, there was no Champions Tour yet, and seeing former PGA Tour winners in their 60s playing regular tour events was not that unusual. Today it is. So if Snead's record gets broken eventually, it might be more likely to happen in a major championship, by a golfer who gets into the field as a past champion.

Photo credit: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Toni Frissell Photograph Collection, LC-DIG-tofr-16700

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