PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Ponte Vedra Beach’s new magic number: 62.
On a Saturday afternoon of low scores at the Players Championship, Tom Hoge went lowest of all and surpassed a host of major champions to carve out his own page in the record books at the Players Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass.
Sinking 10 birdies in a record-shattering round, the 33-year-old from Fargo, North Dakota, fired a 10-under 62 in Saturday’s third round at the Players.
He shot a full 16 strokes better than Thursday’s 78. Hoge catapulted himself from the cut line — he only got the chance to extend his week when the cut line dropped from 1 over to 2 over Saturday morning — to the leaderboard at 8 under for the tournament, tied for eighth.
Nine players were tied for the old record of 63. Fred Couples was the first, in the third round of the 1992 Players, followed by Greg Norman (first round, 1994), Roberto Castro (first round, 2013), Martin Kaymer (first round, 2014), Jason Day (first round, 2016), Colt Knost (second round, 2016), Webb Simpson (second round, 2018), Brooks Koepka (final round, 2018) and Dustin Johnson (final round, 2022).
Norman, Kaymer, Day and Simpson rode their rounds of 63 to a tournament victory.
Hoge achieved the feat with 10 birdies and eight pars in a bogey-free exhibition of near-flawless golf, hitting 11 of 14 fairways and 16 of 18 greens. He finished with 27 putts.
Beginning on the back nine, Hoge didn’t need long to begin a day to remember.
He hit his first birdie after a 251-yard approach to the 11th green, following with a two-putt from 13 feet, 4 inches. At No. 12, he drove the green and two-putted from 7 feet. Then came birdies on No. 15 (163-yard approach, 4-foot putt), No. 16 (239-yard approach in two to the par-5 green, two-putt from 61 feet, 4 inches) and No. 18 (160-yard approach, 11 feet, 9 inches).
Turning to the front nine, he racked up three consecutive birdies: No. 2 (130-yard approach, putt from 18 feet, 11 inches), No. 3 (158-yard tee shot, putt from 3 feet, 8 inches) and No. 4 (122-yard approach, putt from 9 feet, 1 inches).
At the par-3, 238-yard No. 8, he found the green and sank a 24-foot putt. Then, at the par-5 ninth, he hit his third to the green from 95 yards and finished his 10th birdie from 10 feet, 1 inch.
That final birdie also tied the course record for birdies in a round, along with Justin Thomas (third round, 2015), Colt Knost (second round, 2016), Patton Kizzire (final rounds, 2022) and Cameron Smith (final round, 2022).
Hoge only twice came close to dropping strokes. On No. 6, he sank a par putt of 7 feet, 9 inches, and on No. 7, he saved par with a putt of 4 feet, 2 inches.