Raise your hand if you hold a world record. Now keep your hand raised if that world record is in a game that’s centuries old and has been the livelihood of some of the most famous athletes of the last 100 years. Now keep your hand raised if you own the world record for Best Round of Golf Ever Played.
If your hand is raised, your name is Rhein Gibson, and you just shot a new World Record score of 55 on a par-71 golf course in Edmond, Oklahoma. You heard me right, a 16-under par round of 55, shot at River Oaks Golf Club, which plays 6,698 yards. Unthinkable, right? Unimaginable, you say? Nope, just a near-perfect round that featured two eagles, 12 birdies and four pars last Saturday, May 12.
Rhein took time to chat with me on the phone this afternoon from Nebraska, where he’s competing in a National Professional Tour event. Here’s what he had to say:
Cleveland Golf: First of all, congratulations on the round, what an amazing story! Before we get into round details, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Rhein Gibson: I was born in Australia and moved to the States in 2004 when I accepted an offer to play at Oklahoma Christian University. Coach (David) Lynn recruited me and I played for him all four years, graduating in 2008. Since graduation, I’ve been playing mini tours and some international tours. I played the One Asia Tour, and a bit in Australia. Right now, I’m playing the National Professional Tour.
CG: So how does it feel knowing you just set the World Record?
RG: It’s pretty surreal, to be honest with you. The first couple days it didn’t really set in at all. Today the story has gone pretty viral online and my phone has been blowing up, so it has set in a bit. But yeah, it’s just completely surreal.
CG: At what point in the round did you know you had something special?
RG: First of all, I was making every putt I looked at. I could not miss, seriously. When I made the turn at 26 I thought about it for the first time. We played the back nine first, so I made a good birdie on 18 and realized I had shot 26 and just thought ‘Wow, this is unbelievable.’ I knew I needed to make a few more birdies to get into the 50s so I just kept thinking, Don’t screw this up (laughs)! Then the fourth hole (his 13th) is a par 3, uphill. I knocked it really, really close, I thought it was in. It turns out it was 2 inches behind the hole, but still, I knew at that point I just had it going that day.
CG: What was your mindset coming down the stretch?
RG: I wasn’t really nervous to be honest. I play hole-by-hole, so I wasn’t thinking about my score too much. Then, the last two holes are both birdie holes for me, I usually score well on them. I thought if I birdied in I would shot 56, but I was actually wrong. I had miscounted my score and ended up one better than I thought.
CG: Did you make any mistakes or leave any strokes on the course?
RG: Tough to complain (laughs), but if there was one spot it was on the par-5 sixth hole. I hit a Mashie M2 off the tee and had about 220 to the hole. I had a little mud on my ball, and it went way right of where I was aimed. I thought it was out of bounds, actually. I hit a provisional. Well, turns out it was in bounds and I was able to make par. But, it was the only 5 on my scorecard, so maybe it’s a little disappointing.
CG: Tell us about the driver you had in the bag.
RG: Funny story, I had never hit a shot with that driver in my life. I had been playing the (Launcher Ultralite) TL310 and had just got the Classic 290 in the mail the day before. However, it was raining so hard the day before that I hadn’t taken it to the range, and the range was still closed in the morning when I got to the course. So it was a completely new driver to me. It’s amazing, it’s never leaving my bag! I used to say that about the TL310, also, but now the Classic is never leaving my bag!
CG: When you look back, will there be a defining moment in this round?
RG: Probably when I was in the bar after the round. I was sitting there, enjoying it, and my friend’s dad came in and announced to the whole bar and said something like ‘You just shot the best round of all time. In the history of the game, nobody has played any better.’ At that point, I was floored. It was awesome.
So, readers, there you have it. Rhein Gibson becomes the World Record holder for the lowest score ever shot.
In his bag was:
Classic Driver, 9.5* with Miyazaki Kusala Black 66 X
Launcher Ultralite FL 3W, 15*
588 Forged Irons: CB 3-5, MB 6-9
588 Forged Wedges: 48*, 54* and 58*
Never Compromise Connoisseur Perfecto