James Nitties was coming off a double-bogey 6 on his fifth hole of the day at the ISPS Handa Vic Open to fall to 1 over on the round. And then an amazing thing happened. Nitties, ranked 655th in the Official World Golf Ranking, caught fire and made nine consecutive birdies to send his day on a 180-degree turn.
Playing back to front at 13th Beach Golf Links' Beach Course in Australia, Nitties birdied his sixth through 14th holes of the day to get to 8 under on his round. Nitties sits one shot behind leader and roommate Nick Flanagan after Round 1 of the men's competition, which is played alongside a full-field LPGA event on the same pair of courses for equal prize purses.
The crazy thing is, Nitties was disappointed after the round he didn't nab a 10th birdie in a row to tie the lead. Nitties had a 13-footer for birdie on the sixth hole of the course -- his 15th of the day --- that missed narrowly.
“I had a good chance for that 10th birdie, but I didn't want to break it," Nitties said after the round, joking. "It's such a long-standing record. I definitely have the world record for best bounce-back stat because if I holed the nine birdies and I preceded it with a double-bogey."
Nitties was motivated to get back those strokes on a day where scoring was great for much of the field. After a handful of birdies, no one, including Nitties' playing partners and caddie wanted to say anything to him, lest they be the ones that cursed the run.
“I was a little peeved that I made double from the middle of the fairway and followed up with a couple birdies and then rattled off about seven or eight more is pretty special,” Nitties said.
Since he didn't make the putt for a 10th consecutive birdie, Nitties shares the all-time professional golf mark for most consecutive birdies at nine with six known players. Omar Uresti, Mark Calcavecchia, Beth Daniel, Bronte Law, Amy Yang and Bernd Wiesberger are among those who have also made nine straight birdies.
“I don't hold any other world records that I know of, so to be a part of one is pretty cool,” Nitties said.