GOLF

Haas shines with 61


Published: Friday, January 31, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 31, 2003 at 12:40 a.m.

LA QUINTA, Calif. - Never in Jay Haas' 26 years on the tour had he played such a round.

"It was just a magical day for me. Unbelievable," Haas said Thursday after his 61, the second 11-under 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 pro 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 3-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 mindset."

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