Stephan Jaeger might be the best golfer you’ve never heard of – at least until this past weekend. Indeed, the 27-year-old Jaeger put on a show at the Ellie May Classic in Hayward, Calif., shooting a 30-under-250, including an absurd 12-under-58 on the first day. He followed with a 65, 64 and 63, beating runner-up Rhein Gibson by seven strokes.
While the overall performance was otherworldly, Jaeger, whose previous single-round low was 62, was outrageously good last Thursday.
“I birdied my tenth and 11th hole that day and I was going to 8-under and you (realize what’s happening),” Jaeger said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “We play a lot of par-72s, and this was a par-70. So you’re like, ‘(I’m) 8-under, two par-5s to go, you kind of have that a little bit on your mind. I went ahead and three-putted the next hole for par on the par-5, and I was like, ‘Dang, that’s really not what you want to do.’ But I came back and birdied the next three holes to get to 11. It was just a crazy round. It really was. It was just lights out.”
Literally. After shooting a 58, Jaeger got dinner, went home and went to bed.
“There was no celebration,” he said. “It was pretty boring that night because I had to get up the next morning to play at 8 o’clock in the morning. So there wasn’t much going on. I had, I think, 95 messages when I looked at my phone at like 8:30. I couldn’t respond to all of them that night. It was overwhelming, really. It was crazy. It was good to see (so many people reach out). From old high school buddies to college friends to guys that I know back even before high school in Germany – it kind of went all around the world, which is pretty cool to think about.”
Jaeger knew it would be impossible to replicate his first-day performance but was still happy with his final three outings.
“I had no idea how (you’re supposed to) feel the next day,” he said. “Obviously that day, everything went your way, so you don’t know how you’re going to feel the next day. I was very, very happy with that 65 the second day. I was one-under through nine holes and then kind of got on a late run and shot 5-under that day. I was really happy with that, but I don’t think you can compare that to a 58 in the first round. It was very good, but I don’t think anything in a golfer’s life would compare to that number.”
Jaeger hopes to eventually play on the PGA Tour.
“You just got to keep playing (your) game,” he said. “Keep the pedal down and keep doing what I was doing the weeks before. Obviously there’s a lot of media attention, a lot of interviews and a lot of stuff. But I still got to make sure I do my stuff that I need to do every week to prepare for the golf course. You just got to make sure you stay within your routine every week, which is hard to do if you do have a lot of attention, which is a good thing to have. That means you’re playing well. But you still got to make sure that you’re on point with your preparation for sure.”