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SILVIS, Ill. - After four months of pretty lousy play on the PGA Tour, Paul Goydos managed to turn things around a bit. He shot 59 Thursday in the first round of the John Deere Classic.

"Today was a nuclear bomb," he said. "I don't know where it came from. If I knew that, I wouldn't be able to touch it."

Perhaps just as wild, Goydos led by only one stroke. Defending champion Steve Stricker shot 60 at rain-softened TPC Deere Run, making for the two lowest scores in one round at a PGA event. And he just missed tying Goydos on the last hole.

"You're 12 back before you even step on the first tee. That's tough to swallow," Stricker said. "That's why you've got to get into a little different thought process and get in your own little world and chip away."

Goydos, 46, hasn't had a top 40 finish since early May. He led the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in February by a stroke with five to play but tumbled with quadruple-bogey 9 on No. 14.

"I've gone from clubbing a ball in the back yard all the way to the moon and missed all the steps in between," Goydos said.

Only three other times on tour have golfers shot 59. Goydos is the first to do it on a par 71.

EUROPEAN: Darren Clarke shot 6-under 65 for a one-shot lead after the first round of the Scottish Open in Luss. Graeme McDowell returned to tournament play for the first time since his U.S. Open win last month and shot 71. At 71 with McDowell was Phil Mickelson. In a group of six at 67 were John Daly and teen Ryo Ishikawa.

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The 59 Club

The three other rounds of 59 on the PGA Tour:

David Duval, 1999, Bob Hope Classic (PGA West, Arnold Palmer course)

Chip Beck, 1991, Las Vegas Invitational (Sunrise Golf Course)

Al Geiberger, 1977, Memphis Classic (Colonial Country Club)