Never in Jay Haas's 26 years on the PGA Tour had he played such a round.
"It was just a magical day for me. Unbelievable," Haas said today after his 61, the second 11-under-par score of the day, gave him a one-shot lead through two rounds of the Bob Hope Classic.
"Everything is just perfect here, the weather, the greens. If you miss a 10-footer, it's like you can't believe it. So I felt somebody was going to shoot low and I said 61 yesterday. I guess it just took a day to get used to everything."
Second-year tour player Pat Perez also shot a 61 on a sunny, windless day in the desert, but that was merely good enough to put him in a tie for third place.
Harrison Frazar's 62 left him one shot back of Haas, and first-round co-leader Stephen Ames had a 67 and was tied with Perez and Joe Durant at 14 under. Durant, the tournament champion two years ago, had a 63.
The 49-year-old Haas, who won the Hope in 1988, rolled in a three-foot putt on No. 18 for his third birdie in a row and tipped his cap to the gallery as he went to 16-under 128 through 36 holes of the five-day tournament.
"It was one of those days when I almost didn't know how many I was under," said Haas, who has won nine tour titles but none since 1993. "One time I thought I was 9 under and I was only 8. Another time I thought it was 6 and it was 7. I guess I was just playing, so I had a great mind-set."
The 61s were two shots off the PGA Tour record of 59, set by Al Geiberger in 1977, equaled by Chip Beck in 1991 and matched again by David Duval, when he won the Hope in 1999.
Duval, this time making the Hope his first event of the year, ballooned to a second-round 78 after an opening 65.
Defending champion Phil Mickelson had a 68 and was 10 shots off the lead.
Haas's 61 came on the same 6,930-yard PGA West course where Duval shot his closing 59 four years earlier. Perez, who birdied his first six holes and 10 of the first 11 before getting pars on five consecutive holes, played at the 6,972-yard Bermuda Dunes Country Club.
"Ten under through 11, I've never done that," Perez said. "I was as confident as anything. I thought, 'No one has shot a 58 so I might as well become the first one.' "