Under Par: Men's Golf Records in the Majors

Most Strokes Below Par in Major Championships

Jason Day teeing off the 18th hole during the final round of the 2015 PGA Championship
Jason Day, at the 2015 PGA Championship, was the first golfer to finish at 20-under in a major. David Cannon/Getty Image

What are the lowest scores in relation to par in a men's major championship? We'll take a look at the list of such scores, which includes golfers who finished the most strokes under par in the four pro majors. 

Key Takeaways

  • The most under-par any golfer has finished in one of the men's professional majors is 20-under. That record is shared by Jason Day and Henrik Stenson.
  • There haven't been many instances of golfers finishing at 17-under or lower in majors, but Tiger Woods has done it five times.

The Current Major Under-Par Record: 20-Under

Two golfers — Jason Day and Henrik Stenson — currently share the record for lowest winning score in relation to par in one of the four major championships in men's professional golf: 20-under par.

Jason Day was the first to win a major with that score, at the 2015 PGA Championship. It happened at Whistling Straits golf course. , where Day carded rounds of carding rounds at 68, 67, 66, and 67. That brought him in with a total of 268, 20-under the par-72 Straits course.

Henrik Stenson echoed Day's score a year later at the 2016 British Open, winning by three strokes over Phil Mickelson. Playing on the par-71 Royal Troon links, Stenson closed out the tournament with a round of 63 (which tied the then-record for lowest round in a major). Stenson's scores in the first three rounds were 68, 65 and 68 respectively.

Most Strokes Under Par at Each of the Four Majors

Below is the overall list for best scores-in-relation-to-par at all men's majors. But first, let's break out the four golfers who hold the tournament records at the individual majors:

  • The Masters: 18-under, Tiger Woods, 1997
  • U.S. Open: The U.S. Open is the only major missing from the overall list below, which makes sense given its reputation for difficulty. The U.S. Open record for score in relation to par is 16-under, set by Rory McIlroy in 2011 and tied by Brooks Koekpa in 2017.
  • British Open: 20-under, Henrik Stenson, 2016
  • PGA Championship: 20-under, Jason Day, 2015

The List: Best Scores in Relation to Par in a Major

This is the current list of the lowest scores in relation to par in the history of men's major championship golf. Note that Tiger Woods appears on the list five times.

20-under par

  • Jason Day, 2015 PGA Championship
  • Henrik Stenson, 2016 British Open

19-under par

  • Tiger Woods, 2000 British Open

18-under par

  • Nick Faldo, 1990 British Open
  • Tiger Woods, 1997 Masters
  • Tiger Woods, 2000 PGA Championship
  • Bob May, 2000 PGA Championship
  • Tiger Woods, 2006 British Open
  • Tiger Woods, 2006 PGA Championship
  • Jordan Spieth, 2015 Masters

17-under par

The first golfer to win a major at 14-under was Ben Hogan at the 1953 Masters. The first to win at 15-under or better was Jack Nicklaus at the 1965 Masters, where he finished 17-under. The first to win at 18-under was Nick Faldo at the 1990 British Open. The first to win at 19-under was Tiger Woods at the 2000 British Open, and Day was the first to win at 20-under.

Also note that on the list above, two golfers who didn't win appear. Bob May (18-under) lost to Woods in a playoff at the 2000 PGA. And Colin Montgomerie (17-under) lost to Elkington in a playoff at the 1995 PGA.