Alex Ross had already played 18 holes of golf Thursday and had 10 minutes to eat lunch before beginning the third round of the Dogwood Invitational at Atlanta's Druid Hills Golf Club, one of the top tournaments in amateur golf.
He asked the starter what the course record was. "He told me 60," Ross said, according to the Golf Channel. "I said, 'OK, I guess I'll go after that."'
When Ross chipped in for a birdie on the 10th hole (his first), he had no idea of what was to come. But it was the start of something extraordinary.
Ross, who just completed his sophomore season at Davidson, went on to shoot a 15-under par 57 -- tying the lowest round in competitive golf history. In all he made 13 birdies and one eagle on Druid Hills' venerable 6,800-yard, par-72 layout. Not a bogey to be found on his scorecard. That's three shots off what would have been a "perfect" score of 54, the equivalent of going under par on every hole.
It's safe to say that Ross, the Atlantic 10's rookie of the year in 2018 and an all-conference selection this season, didn't see it coming.
"I can't even comprehend it yet," Ross told the Observer late Thursday night. "This is, just, so crazy."
Ross, who had shot rounds of 75 and 73 to open the tournament, birdied his first four holes. The eagle came on No. 14 (his fifth hole) when he sank a 35-foot putt. He drove the green on the par-4 16th hole (his seventh) for another birdie. He was seven under through seven holes.
By then, Ross said he knew he had a special round going.
"I just tried to take it one shot at a time," Ross said. "I needed to keep control of my breathing."
There were plenty of deep breaths still to come. Ross made eight more birdies on his remaining 11 holes. As darkness closed in, word of his round had spread around the 107-year-old course. By the time he walked up his last fairway of the day, Ross had company.
"There were dozens of people lined up on each side to watch me finish," Ross said. "I couldn't believe that."
Ross, an Atlanta native, said he had played Druid Hills a few times before. His 57 moved him to within four shots of the lead heading into Friday's final round. Previous Dogwood winners include Charlotte-resident and PGA Tour pro Webb Simpson, who set the previous tournament record of 60 in 2007.
Jim Furyk's 12-under 58 is the lowest round in PGA Tour history. According to a story on Golf Channel's website, no college golfer has ever shot lower than a 60. Pro golfer Bobby Wyatt also shot 57 in the 2010 Alabama Boys Junior Championship.
"I'm not even believing all that," Ross said. "My game hasn't been producing the results I've been looking for in the past few months. I've just been trusting my process."
This article is written by David Scott from The Charlotte Observer and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.