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History of The Open

Record rounds at The Open


Who has shot the lowest scores?

Branden Grace following his 62 at The Open in 2017

Branden Grace finished tied-sixth at The Open in 2017, eight shots behind Champion Golfer Jordan Spieth, but the South African nevertheless wrote his name into the history books at Royal Birkdale.

Grace was way off the pace heading into the third round before shooting a record-breaking 62 on Saturday - the lowest round ever recorded by a man in any Major Championship.

Rounds of 63 had been recorded on 37 occasions by 34 golfers at Majors since 1973 prior to Grace’s record-breaking total, with 12 of those coming at The Open. 

The Champion Golfer of 2019, Shane Lowry, is the most recent player to achieve the feat. The Irishman joined the 63 club with his third-round score at Royal Portrush at The 148th Open, giving him a lead he would not relinquish as he went on to claim the Claret Jug.

Greg Norman, Vijay Singh and Brooks Koepka are the only players to have recorded rounds of 63 on two occasions in the Majors, although only Norman has managed that score at The Open.

Norman’s 63 came during his second round at Turnberry in 1986, helping the Australian secure the first of his two Open titles by five strokes at the South Ayrshire venue.

Turnberry was also the scene of the very first 63 in Open history, back in 1977, which belonged to Mark Hayes as he established a new single-round record - beating Henry Cotton’s 65 from 1934.

A number of players have since managed to equal that mark, including three-time Champion Golfer Nick Faldo, who achieved the score in his second round at Royal St George’s in 1993.

Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson each shot 63s in an opening round, in 2010 and 2016 respectively, but neither managed to win on that occasion.

Rory McIlroy on his way to a 63 at St Andrews in 2010

Rory McIlroy opened with a 63 at St Andrews in 2010

In the case of 2013 Champion Golfer Mickelson, he was bested by Henrik Stenson after he recorded his own 63 in the final round at Royal Troon to take home the Claret Jug in style.

Jodie Mudd also shot 63 in the fourth round of The Open in 1991 at Royal Birkdale, with Payne Stewart (1993) and Haotong Li (2017) saving their best Open rounds until last as well.

Isao Aoki’s 63 came in the third round at Muirfield in 1980 but it was Tom Watson who prevailed that year, while Paul Broadhurst achieved the feat at St Andrews 10 years later.

But the best third-round score - and the lowest-ever Open and Major round - belongs to Grace, who went one better than all the rest with his history-making 62.

Grace’s day started with a birdie and four more would follow on the fourth, fifth, eighth and ninth holes as he went out in a five-under 29 before making another three birdies on the back nine.

There was not a single blemish on Grace’s scorecard, with eight birdies backed up by 10 pars, but remarkably he did not realise what he’d done until he was told by his caddie Zack Rasego.

“It’s always nice shooting a low number, whether it’s any day of the week, whether it’s in a tournament or with friends,” said Grace afterwards.

“And then finishing the round and then finding out what you’ve done makes it even better, it really does.

“To do it at the Open Championship is pretty special.”


Lowest 18-hole score at The Open

62 – Branden Grace, 3rd round, Royal Birkdale, 2017


Lowest first-round score

63 – Rory McIlroy, St Andrews, 2010

63 – Phil Mickelson, Royal Troon, 2016


Lowest second-round score

63 – Mark Hayes, Turnberry, 1977

Henry Cotton congratulates Mark Hayes on his 63 at Turnberry in 1977

Henry Cotton - the holder of the previous record score at The Open - congratulates Mark Hayes on his 63

63 – Greg Norman, Turnberry, 1986

63 – Nick Faldo, Royal St George’s, 1993


Lowest third-round score

62 – Branden Grace, Royal Birkdale, 2017

63 – Isao Aoki, Muirfield, 1980

63 – Paul Broadhurst, St Andrews, 1990

63 – Shane Lowry, Royal Portrush, 2019


Lowest fourth-round score

63 – Jodie Mudd, Royal Birkdale, 1991

63 – Payne Stewart, Royal St George’s, 1993

63 – Henrik Stenson, Royal Troon, 2016

63 – Haotong Li, Royal Birkdale, 2017

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