Se Ri Pak, bolstered by her first good night's rest since winning the U.S. Women's Open, posted the lowest LPGA tour score ever with a 10-under-par 61 Friday in the second round of the Jamie Farr Kroger Classic.
The 20-year-old South Korean birdied five holes on each side, wrapping up the historic round with birdies on her last three holes. She capped the round by rolling in a 20-foot birdie putt before a large and loud gallery circling the ninth green."Every putt was perfect right to left and left to right," she said. "Everything was perfect."
Five players have shot 62s in an LPGA event, most recently Kathryn Marshall in the second round of last year's State Farm Rail Classic.
The PGA Tour record is 59, set by Al Geiberger in 1977, and matched by Chip Beck in 1991.
The 61 vaulted Pak, who had an even-par 71 in the opening round at the 6,319-yard Highland Meadows Golf Club, into first place by two strokes over first-round co-leaders Vickie Odegard and Dana Dormann and Hall of Famer Betsy King.
Pak had said after the first round that she was battling fatigue since beating Jenny Chuasiriporn to win the Open in a 20-hole playoff Monday. Pak won on the second sudden death hole after the two were still tied after the original 18-and playoff.
With her manager preventing calls from getting through, Pak got 91/2 hours' sleep Thursday night.
"Last week was a really, really long week," Pak said. "I played eight days, then two holes more. I came here on Tuesday afternoon and played a celebrity exhibition). The next day I played 18 holes in the pro-am. Then yesterday, my body felt heavy. Not comfortable."
The record round started without fanfare. Starting on No. 10, she pushed her tee shot into the right rough and hit the ball into the left greenside bunker before blasting out to a foot to salvage par.
On only one other hole did she have trouble. She again avoided trouble in the rough and a bunker at No. 1 before making a 6-foot par putt.
On Nos. 11, 13 and 15, she birdied after hitting 9-irons inside 10 feet. She finished her first nine with consecutive birdies, hitting wedges to eight feet and three feet and rolling in the putts.
She made a 15-footer for birdie at No. 3, a par-4, and followed it up with a pitching wedge to six feet for another birdie.
She hit a wedge to six feet at No. 7, almost holed a 9-iron at No. 8, par-3, before making the 3-foot birdie putt and then dropped her last putt with a gradual right to left break from above the hole.
Before playing partner Meg Mallon stepped up to her own 8-foot birdie putt on No. 9, she offered her putter to Pak while the gallery cracked up.
"Everybody came out to see the U.S. Open champion play and they saw some fabulous golf," Mallon said. "She made every putt inside 15 feet that she needed to."
The 61 was two shots better than Pak's previous low, as an amateur two years ago. It was shot shy of the LPGA record for strokes under par as Vicki Fergon had an 11-under 62 at the San Jose Classic in 1984.
Pak's caddie Jeff "Tree" Cable estimated almost every one of the putts as being longer than Pak did - sometimes twice as long.
"She just rolled the ball extremely well today," Cable said. "We didn't hit it all that close. This is the best I've ever seen her roll it."
Cable said it was a case of Pak hitting her stride after the grueling five days at the Open.
"She started to come around the last three holes yesterday," he said. "She was lucky to finish with a 71. Today she was the same Se Ri Pak."
Nobody else in the 144-player field shot lower than 67 in the second round. The 61 also shattered the course record of 64 that was matched by Dormann and Odegard in the opening round.
Dormann and Odegard each shot a 70 in the second round, while King - seeking her first victory in 15 months - picked up her second straight 67. All were at 8-under 134.
Nancy Lopez missed the cut in her third straight tournament for the first time in her 22-year career, shooting a 70 for 143.
SENIOR PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP: Hot putter. Memorable wedge. Gil Morgan used both to forge a two-stroke lead over his biggest rival in the Senior Players Championship on Friday in Dearborn, Mich.
Morgan, who eagled the 10th hole, shot an 8-under-par 64 in the second round for a 133. That earned him a third-round pairing with Hale Irwin, who shot 69 for 135 at the TPC of Michigan.
Jack Nicklaus, who designed the 6,876-yard layout in the shadow of sponsor Ford Motor Co.'s world headquarters, shot 70 to tie Jim Albus at 137. Albus shot 69.
"Yesterday, I played at a pretty high level, tee to green," Morgan said. "Today, I played a little better and putted better."
Morgan and Irwin are easily the hottest players on the senior circuit. Each has won three times and they rank 1-2 on the money list. Irwin, who finished second in the State Farm Senior Classic last week, has earned $1.3 million, about $300,000 more than Mor-gan.
"Usually, if you play with Gil on the weekend, you're playing pretty well," Irwin said. "So, I'm happy to be playing with Gil."
Morgan, who was three strokes off the lead after an opening 69, birdied five of the first eight holes. His only bogey was at No. 9 where he hit a tree with an errant approach, then two-putted from 45 feet.
But he more than made up for that mistake when he holed his approach for an eagle-2 at the next hole.
QUAD CITY CLASSIC: Steve Jones got badly needed help from a drink cooler to rebuild a disintegrating round and grab a share of the 36-hole lead with Frank Lick-liter in the Quad City Classic in Coal Valley, Ill.
Jones shot a 5-under-par 65 and Lickliter a 64 as they tied at 129, 11 under for two rounds. Defending champion David Toms and Kenny Perry each shot their second 65s and were at 130.
P.H. Horgan III and Russ Cochran, each with 66s, were at 131. First-day leader Curt Byrum fell into an eight-way tie at 8-under after shooting a 69. Also at that figure were D.A. Weibring and Hal Sutton, who started the day a stroke off the lead following opening-round 64s.
Jones, the 1996 U.S. Open champion, started as if he was going to humble the 6,762-yard Oakwood Country Club course. He eagled No. 10, his first hole of the day, to get to 8-under, then added birdies on Nos. 14, 15 and 17.
His round began to fall apart, however, when he bogeyed Nos. 18 and 1, failing to get up and down after errant approaches.
"I was a little disgusted with myself," Jones said. "All of a sudden I'm 9 and I'm thinking, `What am I doing?' "
Casey Martin, who won a lawsuit for the right to ride a cart in PGA tournaments, added a 68 to a first-round 66 and was at 134, five off the lead and four strokes better than the cut of 2-under 138. Among the victims of the cut was John Daly, who had only a 72 Friday and missed the weekend by a shot. He was among nine players who failed to qualify after opening with 67s.