North Carolina's David Ford nearly breaks course record at iconic Seminole

North Carolina’s David Ford nearly breaks course record at iconic Seminole

JUNO BEACH, Fla. – David Ford has logged many memorable rounds in his young but accolade-laden amateur career.

His round Monday at iconic Seminole Golf Club, though, has likely trumped them all.

The North Carolina sophomore was not long removed from signing the scorecard for his incredible 10-under 62 in the second round of the Jackson T. Stephens Cup, so he didn’t have much time to think. But chances are strong he’ll be keeping the golf ball from this one.

“This one might be the best round I’ve ever played just considering how nervous I was,” Ford said. “I had a lot of long waits out on the course, there were some rulings in front of me, so I had a lot of time to think, and I think I handled myself and the nerves well and got a low score out of it .”

The ACC Freshman of the Year nervous? Ford and his fellow Tar Heels had it cruising early and often during Monday’s marathon day where much of the field got 36 holes in. But Ford didn’t catch fire until the par-5 ninth hole.

He had just missed four straight 12-footers, the first three for birdie and the one at No. 9 for eagle. That’s when he birdied No. 10, and No. 11, too.

“That one really got me going,” Ford said.

Another fourth straight birdie followed, and Ford, now in the lead, was greeted by television cameras when he arrived at the tee box on the par-3 13th hole.

As he waited 15 minutes for a teammate ahead to get a ruling, Ford’s stomach started to churn and his legs got a little wobbly.

“I knew I was on Golf Channel and so I figured my phone may be blowing up; that was the thought in the back of my mind,” Ford said. “I was pretty nervous because I was hitting it great, but I left so many out there, and it wasn’t like scary, but I was like, ‘Holy cow,’ I’m 7 or 8 under and I missed four 12 -footers in a row in the middle of the round.”

So, what did he do next? He stuffed the tee shot and rolled in a fifth straight birdie. When the torrid stretch was over, Ford had rattled off eight straight birdies.

And he suddenly had the course record in his sights.

“I had no idea,” Ford said when asked if he knew what Seminole’s best mark was. “Do you know?”

Claude Harmon shot 60 in 1947.

Ben Hogan, seven years later, carded at 61.

Two birdies, on Nos. 17 and 18, would tie Ford with Harmon. One would equal Hogan’s score.

Ford, who parred the penultimate hole, left himself about 10 feet for birdie at the last for 61. It didn’t drop.

“It wasn’t meant to be,” said Ford, who at 14 under leads Arkansas’ Julian Perico by six shots, as North Carolina is 17 clear of the field as it looks to punch its ticket to Wednesday’s match-play final.

“I gave it everything I had on that last putt. If the course record is 60, I guess I didn’t break it.”

Still, what a round for Ford, nervous or not, to talk about for the rest of his life.

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