‘That can’t be right’: Pro plays 18 holes with a record-tying 18 putts

Cameron Smith

Cameron Smith on Friday after making a birdie on the 6th hole at TPC Southwind.

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Cameron Smith, after missing the green on his tee shot on the par-3 8th at TPC Southwind, came up just short of it on his second shot, too. He looked down at the ground. He looked at the face of his club. It was, arguably, his worst shot of his second round at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational on Friday. 

And maybe … his best? 

His ball finished on the fringe. From 14 feet, 3 inches away, Smith made par with his putter. That’s a very selective word choice there. He putted, and he didn’t. For PGA Tour statistical purposes, putting from off the green doesn’t count as a putt — so Smith finished the hole with “zero” putts. 

Before that, he had taken six putts, After, he took 12. Added all together, Smith had taken a PGA Tour-record-tying 18 putts over 18 holes. Kind of. 

“Yeah, it was funny — I was walking down 17 and I was counting my putts up and I was like, that can’t be right,” Smith said on Golf Channel after his round. “Yeah, I was standing there on the last hole, and, yeah, [my caddie] said we had 18 putts. Obviously a good day on the greens and off the greens, but pretty cool little title to have next to your name.”

To be clear, Smith putted very well on the greens. On the par-4 5th, he rolled in a 29-footer for birdie. On the par-4 6th, he made a 6-footer for birdie. On the par-4 12th, he dropped a 22-footer for birdie. On the par-3 14th, he dropped a 17-footer for birdie. 

“This man has been a robot on the greens,” analyst Mark Immelman said on the Golf Channel broadcast. 

But to also be clear, Smith putted well from off the greens, too. Or just avoided them all together. On the par-5 3rd, he canned a shot from the greenside bunker. On the next hole, the par-3 4th, Smith flubbed another pitch, only to hole-out the redo. He’d actually finish second for the round in Strokes Gained: Putting.

In all, the 18 putts were part of 62 strokes he took on Friday at Southwind, putting him two strokes behind leader Harris English. And Smith is now tied with 11 other Tour players who have averaged only one putt a hole over a round. (Golf Channel reported that the professional record belongs to Joan Joyce, who took 17 putts at the 1982 Michelob Light Classic — whom Smith could have tied, but he two-putted 18.) 

Harris English at 2021 WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational
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“Yeah, it’s always nice to, whether it’s on the green or not, to hole those putts of length for par and kind of keep the momentum going,” Smith said. “The greens are so good around here, if you get the ball started online and you’ve hit a good putt, most of the time they’re going in. Yeah, really just a good day on the greens, I guess.”

Below is a look at Smith’s 18 holes on Friday: 

Hole 1: 422-yard par-4 (One putt for birdie)
Shot 1, 285 yards to left fairway, 133 yards to hole
Shot 2, 134 yards to green, 4 feet, 8 inches to hole
Shot 3, in the hole

Hole 2: 396-yard par-4 (Two putts for par) 
Shot 1, 305 yards to right rough, 79 yards to hole
Shot 2, 85 yards to green, 20 feet, 5 inches to hole
Shot 3, putt 21 feet, 0 inches, 6 inches to hole
Shot 4, in the hole

Hole 3: 558-yard par-5 (Zero putts after holing out from sand for eagle) 
Shot 1, 310 yards to right fairway, 247 yards to hole
Shot 2, 246 yards to front left greenside bunker, 33 feet, 5 inches to hole
Shot 3, in the hole

Hole 4: 178-yard par-3 (Zero putts after flubbing chip and then chipping in for par)  
Shot 1, 175 yards to right intermediate, 40 feet, 11 inches to hole
Shot 2, 18 feet, 9 inches to right fairway, 22 feet, 6 inches to hole
Shot 3, in the hole

Hole 5: 499-yard par-4 (One putt for birdie) 
Shot 1, 304 yards to left fairway, 198 yards to hole
Shot 2, 188 yards to green, 29 feet, 9 inches to hole
Shot 3, in the hole

Hole 6: 423-yard par-4 (One putt for birdie) 
Shot 1, 297 yards to right fairway, 126 yards to hole
Shot 2, 126 yards to green, 6 feet, 6 inches to hole
Shot 3, in the hole

Hole 7: 487-yard par-4 (One putt for par after getting up and down from off the green) 
Shot 1, 316 yards to right fairway, 172 yards to hole
Shot 2, 180 yards to left rough, 35 feet 9 inches to hole
Shot 3, 38 feet, 1 inch to green, 3 feet, 1 inch to hole
Shot 4, in the hole

Hole 8: 153-yard par-3 (Zero putts for par after coming up short on chip and then putting in from fringe) 
Shot 1, 153 yards to right fairway, 31 feet, 1 inch to hole
Shot 2, 16 feet, 11 inches to fringe, 14 feet, 3 inches to hole
Shot 3, in the hole

Hole 9: 460-yard par-4 (One putt for par after getting up and down from a bunker) 
Shot 1, 321 yards to left rough, 152 yards to hole
Shot 2, 161 yards to rear greenside bunker, 24 feet, 7 inches to hole
Shot 3, 37 feet, 2 inches to green, 12 feet, 8 inches to hole
Shot 4, in the hole

Hole 10: 471-yard par-4 (One putt for par after putting for birdie from the fringe) 
Shot 1, 305 yards to right rough, 172 yards to hole
Shot 2, 169 yards to fringe, 24 feet, 1 inch to hole
Shot 3, 17 feet, 7 inches to green, 6 feet, 6 inches to hole
Shot 4, in the hole

Hole 11: 139-yard par-3 (Two putts for par) 
Shot 1, 144 yards to green, 14 feet, 2 inches to hole
Shot 2, putt 15 feet, 3 inches, 9 inches to hole
Shot 3, in the hole

Hole 12: 400-yard par-4 (One putt for birdie) 
Shot 1, 311 yards to right fairway, 80 yards to hole
Shot 2, 72 yards to green, 22 feet, 10 inches to hole
Shot 3, in the hole

Hole 13: 475-yard par-4 (Two putts for par) 
Shot 1, 298 yards to right fairway, 174 yards to hole
Shot 2, 177 yards to green, 25 feet, 4 inches to hole
Shot 3, putt 27 feet, 10 inches, 2 feet, 5 inches to hole
Shot 4, in the hole

Hole 14: 198-yard par-3 (One putt for birdie) 
Shot 1, 193 yards to green, 17 feet, 9 inches to hole
Shot 2, in the hole

Hole 15: 376-yard par-4 (One putt for par after putting for birdie from the fringe) 
Shot 1, 282 yards to right rough, 124 yards to hole
Shot 2, 126 yards to fringe, 15 feet, 7 inches to hole
Shot 3, 14 feet, 10 inches to green, 10 inches to hole
Shot 4, in the hole

Hole 16: 539-yard par-5 (Zero putts after making a birdie from the fringe) 
Shot 1, 304 yards to left rough, 229 yards to hole
Shot 2, 172 yards to left rough, 60 yards to hole
Shot 3, 65 yards to fringe, 15 feet, 8 inches to hole
Shot 4, in the hole

Hole 17: 484-yard par-4 (One putt for par after putting for birdie from the fringe) 
Shot 1, 330 yards to right rough, 164 yards to hole
Shot 2, 158 yards to fringe, 22 feet, 5 inches to hole
Shot 3, 23 feet, 9 inches to green, 12 inches to hole
Shot 4, in the hole

Hole 18: 448-yard par-4 (Two putts for par) 
Shot 1, 286 yards to right fairway, 171 yards to hole
Shot 2, 163 yards to green, 22 feet, 1 inch to hole
Shot 3, putt 22 feet, 2 inches, 12 inches to hole
Shot 4, in the hole

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Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor