Sixty years ago today, University of Houston golfer Homero Blancas set a world record by shooting 55 (-15) in a tournament round.
After two rounds of the 72 hole tournament at Premier Golf Club in Longview, Fred Marti of Baytown had a 7-shot lead over Blancas after posting back-to-back 66s. Homero shot 70-69 in the first two rounds. Just two months before, Marti and Blancas were part of the UH team that won the 1962 NCAA title at Duke Golf Club. It was Houston’s sixth of what would become 16 national titles.
After a late night partying in nearby Bossier, Louisiana, Blancas took a short nap and then played the final 36 holes alongside Marti. Homero shot 62 in the morning round to Marti’s 64. So Marti, -14 and still leading by five going into the final round, felt pretty confident.
But Blancas birdied the first and caught a break when a skulled chip hit the flag and bounced in for eagle on #2.
“I really was thinking one shot at a time and guess I got into the zone,” Blancas said after the round. “I lost track of how I stood with par but knew how I stood with Fred.”
After a front-nine 27, Homero birdied #10 but parred the par-5 #11. Premier was a nine-hole course, which means he parred the same hole he made the miracle birdie on earlier.
The crowds grew as word spread about what Blancas was doing. Then, on 17, he started getting nervous and blasted a 40+ foot putt. But luck was on his side again. It hit the hole, bounced up in the air, and went in.
Someone in the gallery told him he needed a birdie to shoot 55. Tightening up, Homero blasted his ball right towards out of bounds but it hit a tree and bounced all the way to the fairway.
After a lay-up and a wedge to four feet, Blancas sank the putt to get his record. A score of 55 with just 20 putts.
His two-round total of 117 in a day will likely never be broken, either.
The Guinness Book of World Records authenticated the round and listed it as golf’s lowest round (it was removed due to the course’s length). But that doesn’t bother Blancas, who says “that 55 has always been my calling card in golf.”
Marti’s story may be as incomprehensible as Homero’s. Fred had entered the day with a 7-shot lead, shot -10 in the final 36 holes, and lost by six.
“I remember calling home to talk with my dad since I had a big lead going into that final round,” Marti said. “I told him I finished second, six shots behind Homero and my dad asked me if I had shot 80 or something. When I told him I shot a 66, I think he dropped the phone.”