Zander Shoots “55”

By R.J. Smiley







On August 27, 2020 Alexander “Zander” Hughes shot his first 55.

Last week my nephew sent me a newspaper article about a golfer who shot 55. I thought the story had something to do with his daughter who is now playing on the high school team. My first thought was, “So what is such a big deal about some golfer shooting 55? Kids in junior high shoot 55 all the time.”

Then I noticed that the 55 was shot on the South Lake Golf Course in Jenks, Oklahoma (near Tulsa) by Zander (short for Alexander) Hughes. I had to read the article to get the whole story. 

Zander Hughes is a local kid who graduated from Edison (OK) High School in 2014. He then went to the University of Central Oklahoma where he had a good college career. Zander, who made the decision to give professional golf a try, is currently working his way into mini-tour golf. 

Zander said that he enjoys playing the 6,413-yard South Lake course occasionally, “It is a nice course that is always in good shape.” After a late breakfast, Zander went to South Lake to work on his game. On the driving range Zander met Grant Gudgel, a 14-year-old high school golfer from Stillwater, OK. The two decided to play a round together. 

The two golfers were paired with another twosome of Jon Waggoner and Hunter Shanks. (Imagine playing a round of golf with a guy named “Shanks”.) 

The round started with pars on the first hole, then Zander holed his tee shot on the par-3 second. The kid has pro length, Zander used his 50° wedge for the 155 yard shot. After a par on the third, Zander ran off a string of five straight birdies. On the par-5 ninth, Zander hit a 228-yard 5-iron to 20 feet and holed the eagle putt for a nine under 26 on the front. With another birdie on 10, Zander had played seven holes in 8 under par.

After the round Zander laughed that Grant (who was keeping score) kept asking, “Do you want to know how you are doing?”

“I knew how I was doing, but I have always been able to keep a cool head on the course.”

Zander birdied the par-5 twelfth and pared 13 and 14. Then he finished off his round in style. He drove the 331 yard 15th and holed another eagle and finished off with 3 birdies. He had a chance at 54 but failed to hole a chip from the fringe on the par-5 eighteenth. Zander’s round included an ace and two eagles. Zander said that he was driving the ball very long and had 100 yards or less on most holes. “I kept hitting it within 15 feet and made all of them. Even the ones that I felt were off line seemed to go in.” His round included one 1, three 2’s, eight 3’s and six 4’s. 

Zander’s next two days were filled with interviews.

Interesting side note:  After the round Grant called his dad. His father asked, “How did you play?”

Grant replied, “I played pretty well. I had a two under 69, but I got beat 14 shots.”

Other rounds of 55.

While I was in college in the fall of 1961, I played with a golfer from the University of Houston named Homero Blancas. The Mexican/American kid could really play. In the summer of 1962 Blancas shot 55 on a par 70 golf course in a college match. The golf course was very short, only about 5,000 yards. The Guinness Book of World Records listed the round as a record for several years, but later disqualified Blancas’ round because it was on a golf course of less than 6,500 yards. Never the less, Blancas shot a 15 under round.

Research has discovered one other recorded 18 hole scores of 55. On May 12, 2012 Australian professional golfer, Rhein Gibson, shot his 16 under record round at River Oaks Golf Club in Edmund, OK. Rhein played his college golf at Oklahoma Christian University years earlier.

Records in golf are like old Wild West gun fighters: No matter how fast you are, there is always somebody faster.