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Frazar shoots 59 at Q-school to take the lead

Photo: Fred Vuich/SI

Tiger Woods took 8 1/2 months off after the 2008 U.S. Open to recover from knee surgery.

LA QUINTA, Calif. (AP) — Harrison Frazar realized that every birdie he made on the back nine kept pushing him closer to golf's magic number of 59 in the PGA Tour qualifying tournament Saturday.

He didn't care about his score, only that each birdie improved his chances of earning a PGA Tour card.

"I'm here to make as many birdies as I can for 108 holes, then get back on tour where I can play," Frazar said.

But when he rolled in his seventh straight birdie, a 35-foot putt on the 17th hole of the Nicklaus Tournament course at PGA West, he knew he needed only a par on the final hole to shoot 59.

"I wanted to shoot 59 for me, just to say I did it," he said. "And those were the two best swings I've hit in a long time."

Frazar calmed his nerves and drove into the fairway, hit a wedge to the green and took two putts to become only the second player to shoot a 59 at Q-school.

Better yet, it put him at 24-under 264 and gave him a four-shot lead with only two rounds to play.

"I've got to try to remember what it is I'm trying to do and accomplish that," said Frazar, winless in 300 starts in his PGA Tour career. "A 59 is great, and it's something I'll always say I was able to do. But it's not why I'm here. We still have two more rounds, and that's the bigger goal."

The only other player to shoot 59 at Q-school was David Gossett in 2000, although he failed to earn his PGA Tour card.

Tyler Aldridge had a 64 on the Nicklaus course was four shots behind, with Jay Williamson (66) another two shots back at 18-under 270. Glen Day went 58 consecutive holes without a bogey until making one on the 18th hole Saturday, but he managed a 70 and was tied for fourth at 17 under.

The top 25 players and ties will earn PGA Tour cards on Monday.

Frazar was 6 under over a six-hole stretch on the front nine, including an eagle, to go out and 30. His string of birdies began on the par-5 11th with a 10-foot birdie putt. Of the next six birdies, only one of them was inside 15 feet.

"I kept having good, comfortable yardages on the second shots," he said. "I never thought I had to ease into one, or get cute or fancy. I kept hitting it solid and pounding away. Fortunately, some putts went in. I've played this well and putts don't go in, and you don't shoot that kind of number."

Frazar's score will not count in the tour record books because Q-school is not an official event. Al Geiberger, Chip Beck and David Duval are the only players with a 59 in official play. Annika Sorenstam is the only LPGA Tour player with a 59.

John Huston, who opened with a 74, continued his rally with a second straight 65 that put him in a tie for 10th. D.J. Brigman also made a big move with a 63, moving into a tie for 15th.

Among those going the wrong direction were Joe Durant, a four-time tour winner who shot a 78 and was tied for 106th; and former PGA champion Mark Brooks, the only major champion at Q-school, who shot 72 and was tied for 42nd.

There was no 72-hole cut. Those who failed to finish in the top 25 will get either full or conditional status on the Nationwide Tour.

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