PITTSFORD — Scott Piercy was either being bold or funny when he got on Twitter on Saturday night and predicted a round of 62 for Sunday.
That would be a record for the lowest round in a major. It seemed a preposterous prediction, perhaps more impossible than improbable, after he shot 72 Saturday and was even-par for the tournament.
But then, when he birdied the third and fourth holes Sunday, it seemed less preposterous. By No. 9, even less preposterous. And by the 14th hole, it seemed realistic.
Piercy birdied No. 13 to reach 6-under for the day. He needed to go 2-under over the next five holes to finish with a 62.
Of course, he didn’t make the mark; if he had, you would have heard about it by now. Nonetheless, Piercy finished with a stellar round of 5-under-par 65 to finish the tournament at 5-under, tied for fifth.
“You have got to think it before you can believe it,” Piercy said of his prediction. “Sometimes it’s unrealistic to think 62. If I thought 65 today, maybe I only shoot 69.”
At one point, Piercy went 7-under through 11 holes with seven birdies bookended at Nos. 3 and 13.
“I talked to my wife this morning on the phone walking to the first tee and I said, ‘My swing is feeling good, the putter is feeling good, hopefully it translates to a score,’ ” Piercy said. “It did, so I’m happy about that.”
Piercy, the No. 46 player in the world, didn’t get hot immediately Sunday. He was 1-over through two holes after bogeying No. 2.
“I just told myself to keep trying to make birdies,” Piercy said. “I was hitting good shots early on, and I did – I made a few putts, which propelled me. Kind of riding the momentum, just kept hitting some more good shots.”
Piercy had a chance to make birdie on 17 but missed the cup by inches. He looked to the sky in frustration.
“If you hit good shots on this golf course, it will reward you,” he said. “If you hit bad ones, you are going to make bogeys. Usually when you start going well, hit good shots, making birdies, you can start to ride the momentum.”
Piercy, who had not finished in the top 50 in his last five starts, said he has been playing through an injury the past few months — though the ailment is not listed online — and called Sunday’s round a “confidence builder.”
“This is the first week in two months I was able to practice and kind of work on my swing and my game,” Piercy said. “You know, it kind of showed. Having no pain and being able to practice make a big difference.”
Piercy, who climbed 16 spots, was not the only golfer to come out of obscurity.
Jason Day matched Piercy’s scores identically day by day — 67, 71 and 72 — from Thursday to Saturday, and he also bogeyed No. 2 Sunday.
Day moved up 13 spots Sunday after firing a 3-under-par 67. Though he bogeyed 16, 17 and 18, it was still a successful afternoon.
How’d he celebrate? When he got back to the clubhouse, his wife, Ellie, was waiting as their 1-year-old son, Dash, waddled around and entertained a small crowd. Day kissed his pudgy son before turning in his scorecard. When Day came back outside, he hoisted Dash above his head like Rafiki did to Simba in The Lion King.