The temperature wasn’t the only record falling in Bellingham earlier this week.
James Allenby shot a blistering 10-under 61 — a new course record at the Bellingham Golf and Country Club course — to win the 18-hole U.S. Open Local Qualifier event on May 6.
He did so on a day the thermostat hit 78 F (25 C), setting a new heat record for Bellingham for that day.
The 28-year-old teed off earlier in the day when the temperatures were a bit lower.
“It was pretty hot still for most of my round,” he said on Thursday, back in Langley and helping out at Langley Golf Centre, which his family owns and operates.
“I was able to stand the heat and keep it going.”
Allenby, a former all-American from Oregon State and a 2002 Langley Secondary graduate, came out firing in Monday’s round — his first-ever on the course — and never let up.
“I knew I had a shot at doing something good,” he said.
“When you birdie your first four holes … whenever you get a start like that, you know if you play solid, you can post a low number.
“(And) when I got through eight holes and I was already at seven under par, then 59 crosses your mind, the best round of golf you can play.”
Fifty-nine is considered golf’s magic number and in the long history of the game, only four professional golfers have ever carded a round that low.
For his part, Allenby was oblivious to the fact he was getting close to the club record of 64, which was held by multiple golfers.
“It never occurred to me that I could be setting a course record,” he said.
“I was just thinking about a personal record, play the best I have ever played, and that gave me motivation.”
Going into this round, Allenby once shot a 62 in a non-competitive round, while his best competitive round was 63.
Leading up to the Bellingham event, Allenby said he had been working on certain areas he figured he needed improvements in.
“And I was rewarded with a 61,” he marveled.
“I didn’t expect it obviously, but whenever you make birdies as frequently as they were coming, you just go with it and try and ride out the the hot streak as long as you can.”
And while all parts of his game seemed to have come together perfectly for that round, Allenby said he was especially impressed with his wedge play from inside of 120 yards.
Allenby was among the 111 golfers who teed off that day, all hoping to earn one of the seven qualifying spots at sectional competitions early next month — the golfers chose which sectional they will compete in — with a chance to play for a berth in the famed U.S. Open June 13-16 at Merion Golf Course in Ardmore, Pa.
Also qualifying for sectional qualifying was Langley’s Darren Wallace, who shot a five-under 66 in Bellingham.
Both Allenby and Wallace will spend the summer on the PGA Tour Canada.