Herron fires 61 for lead

Published: Saturday, February 1, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, February 1, 2003 at 12:52 a.m.
LA QUINTA, Calif. - Tim Herron, putter in hand, was in the zone .
"Today, I just kind of had it. The hole looked like a bucket," Herron said Friday after his 11-under-par 61 tied him with Stephen Ames for the Bob Hope Classic lead. "It's my lowest score ever. I've had three 62s.
"I had no idea, really, what I shot today. I was just trying to make every putt I looked at."
Herron, a three-time winner since coming onto the tour in 1996, began on the back nine at PGA West and birdied his first three holes, including rolling in a 40-foot putt on the 207-yard, par-3 No. 12.
He was 5 under after his first nine holes, then made six birdie putts, the longest a 15-footer, on the back nine for a 30 as he shot the third 61 of the tournament.
He and Ames, who had a 64, were at 22-under 194 after 54 holes in the five-day event.
Herron's 11-under round came a day after Jay Haas and Pat Perez had 61s.
Haas, the 1988 Hope champion, had a third-round 67 and was just a shot behind the co-leaders. Perez, however, had a 70 that dropped him six strokes off the pace and into a group at 16-under.
The 32-year-old Herron is looking for his first win since taking the Bay Hill Invitational in 1999. His other victories came in the 1996 Honda Classic and the 1997 Texas Open.
He tied for 56th last week in Phoenix, and tied for 40th in the Sony Open the previous week.
Ames, who joined the tour full-time in 1988 and is still winless, keyed his round with accurate iron play, sticking the ball within 10 feet of the pin six times.
He also was pleased with his putting.
"I think I missed one put under 10 feet," he said. "I knew there were going to be low scores here, but I didn't know it was going to be me."
  • In Melbourne, Australia, England's Paul Casey shot a 5-under 67 to take a two-stroke in the Heineken Classic and leave Ernie Els 10 strokes back after two rounds.
    Casey, a former Arizona State player, had a 12-under 132 total on Royal Melbourne's composite course. England's David Lynn was second after a 65, the best round of the day.
    Els, playing for the fourth straight week after winning the first two PGA Tour events of the year in Hawaii and finishing second last week in Singapore, had an even-par 72 for a 142 total.
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