As the golf world continues to try to untangle from the current divisions between the PGA Tour and LIV golf, an unusual on-course development continues to make headlines. Golfer Hayden Springer became the latest professional to break 60 this season when he shot a 12 under par 59 at the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Illinois.

Breaking 60 used to happen once per decade or perhaps no more often than once every five years. However, times have changes dramatically. Even though there have been just 14 rounds of 59 or better in the history of professional golf — including tours in Europe and Asia — eight of them have taken place this year.

Springer used a blazing hot start to give himself a shot at the sub-60 round when he shot a 27 on the front nine of the TPC Deere Run course. The golfer slowed down on the back nine, but he was able to break through because he holed out an eagle on No. 17 and he followed with a closing birdie on the 18th hole.

The final shot was a 12-foot birdie putt that Springer struck with authority. It was dead center all the way and it enabled Springer to make some history. He was thrilled at the accomplishment.

“Kind of at loss for words in terms of being able to do that,” Springer said. “I feel like that's one of the rare things in golf, so to have that opportunity and pull it off, it feels pretty special.”

Golfers have been breaking through magic mark with shocking frequency

Hayden Springer approaches his ball on the 11th green during Round 2 of The American Express at La Quinta Country Club in La Quinta, Calif., Friday, Jan. 19, 2024.
Andy Abeyta/The Desert Sun / USA TODAY NETWORK

Springer has had plenty of company this year when it comes to putting a 59 on the board. Cameron Young accomplished the feat just three weeks earlier at the Travelers Championship.

There have been eight sub-60 rounds this year, with the lowest round coming from Cristobal del Solar of Chile. He shot a 57 on a Korn Ferry Tour event in Colombia.

Springer became the second player in PGA Tour history to shoot a 59 at the John Deere Classic. Paul Goydos shot a 59 in 2010.

Conditions were ideal for scoring in the first round of the John Deere Classic. There was virtually no wind and since it had rained the previous night, players were allowed to lift and clean their golf balls before taking their next shot.

Springer was able to record an eagle on the second hole, and he fired four consecutive birdies after that. He closed the front nine by making short birdie putts on the final two holes.

After a 15-foot birdie putt, Springer knew he was on his game and he had a chance to light up the scoreboard.

“I was like: ‘OK, I feel like I'm not missing today. I'm pretty much holing any putt I look at,' ” he said. “So probably that putt going in was kind of the trigger of, ‘OK, we might be able to go super low.' ”

Hayden Springer has set the tone and he takes a two-stroke lead over Sam Valimaki into the second round of the John Deere Classic. Valimaki shot a 10 under par 61.