Harrison Frazar tied his best PGA Tour score with a 9-under-par 62 today to open a two-stroke lead over John Huston and David Toms after the first round of the Phoenix Open.
Despite the attention focused on youngsters such as Aaron Baddeley and Sergio Garcia, the first round belonged to a relatively obscure veteran who has never won a PGA Tour event.
"There's a lot of birdies out there," Frazar said. "The next 54 holes, there's going to be a bunch of opportunities."
Retief Goosen, J.J. Henry, John Rollins, Luke Donald and James McLean carded 65s. Scott McCarron, Steve Elkington, Ian Leggatt, Charles Howell III, Dan Forsman, Tim Petrovic, Shaun Micheel and Kirk Triplett were a shot behind them.
Garcia was in a group of 29 players at 69. The cluster also included defending champion Chris DiMarco and former champions Phil Mickelson (1996) and Rocco Mediate (1999), who placed third in last week's Sony Open.
The 21-year-old Baddeley, who was second at Honolulu, shot a 71 and needs a strong second round to make the cut. So does Ty Tryon, 18, who made his PGA debut last year at Phoenix and missed the cut then. He shot a 73.
Frazar played most of 1999 with a broken hand and missed two months of the 2001 season after having surgery to repair torn ligaments and cartilage in his right hip.
He plugged along, somehow managing to remain among the top 100 money-winners. Frazar began last year still hurt and made only 15 cuts, but had five top 10 finishes.
After tying for 33rd in Honolulu on Sunday, Frazar decided to break out the new Titleist X ball. He also had dinner Wednesday night with a friend, psychologist Fran Perazzoli, to discuss his putting stroke.
Everything clicked. Frazar had five birdies on the front nine, finishing with three in a row on the TPC of Scottsdale course.