LAS VEGAS (AP) — Garrett Willis overcame an abbreviated workout and shot a 10-under 62 on the TPC Summerlin course Friday for a share of the second-round lead in the Frys.com Open.
D.J. Trahan and rookie George McNeill matched Willis at 13-under 130. McNeill shot a 7-under 64 on the par-71 TPC The Canyons course and Trahan had a 64 on the same course in an event missing all of the world’s top-20 players.
After playing the Canyons course Thursday, Willis went 7 under on his back nine in the second round to finish one stroke off the course record of 61 set by Davis Love III in 2001.
Jason Gore and John Huston were tied for fourth at 12 under. Gore followed his 63 on The Canyons course Thursday with a 4-under 68 on Summerlin on a hazy, mostly cloudy day in the desert for the early groups before a sunny and breezy afternoon. Huston shot a 6-under 65 at The Canyons.
Gore had a bogey and only one birdie on the front nine, but made four birdies over his final nine holes.
“I think I was pressing a little bit too much on the front nine and just said, ‘Heck with it,”‘ Gore said. “After the way I played on the front nine, I’m glad to finish up with 4 under. It looked like I could have shot 5 over at one point.”
John Daly bounced back from a first-round 74 with a 9-under 63 on Summerlin – shooting an 8-under 28 on the back nine – to put him at 6 under for the tournament. He was 4 over for the tournament with 11 holes to play, but birdied Nos. 7 and 9 to reach the turn at 1-under 35. He then birdied 10 and 11, eagled 13 and birdied Nos. 14 through 17.
“Nothing’s been going right in two years, and to do that, it’s just a great feeling to get a decent round in for a change,” Daly said. “It was a shock to me.”
Scott Verplank, the highest ranked player in the field at No. 24, and Charles Howell III missed the cut after being expected to contend. They were both at 3 under.
Willis made eagle on the third hole – his 12th – then birdied Nos. 4, 6, 7 and 9 on his sizzling back nine to shoot his second best round of his career, in just his 11th PGA Tour event of 2007. He followed his bogey on No. 2 with a birdie, then also had three straight birdies on 14, 15 and 16.
Paired with Duffy Waldorf, who sported lilac slacks and his trademark Hawaiian shirt, it wasn’t until his 17th hole that Willis noticed he was atop the leaderboard.
“When I made a bogey on the second hole, my first thought was, ‘Great, you put yourself in a position where you’ll have to grind it out for the cut,”‘ said Willis, who finally felt awake about halfway through his round. “When I turned at 3 under, I was just more concerned with hitting good golf shots. And then I birdied No. 1, which was my 10th hole. After that I felt relaxed.”