An eagle, eight birdies and some handy work on the greens added up to an 8-under 63 for John Daly in Friday’s second round of the first event of the PGA Tour’s Fall Season.
Daly, who had not played in six weeks and hopes to be back on the PGA Tour full-time next year, carded his lowest PGA score since the 2007 Frys.com Open.
He’ll enter the weekend at the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open tied for sixth at 10-under, just four shots back of 36-hole leaders Jonas Blixt and Brendon de Jonge, and in a projected 121st place on the all-important money list.
The top 125 money winners qualify for their tour cards. Daly began the week as No. 132.
Daly’s score was also just one stroke higher than his career low, thanks to a stellar day with the flat stick. The 46-year-old two-time major champ needed just 23 putts to make his way around TPC Summerlin. An eagle-3 on the par-5 ninth didn’t hurt.
“I just killed a 6‑iron for my second shot. Got lucky,” Daly told reporters after matching Daniel Summerhays for low round of the day. “Actually just barely carried the bunker and hit on the downslope where it got a little roll out of it and had about a 15‑footer, which was good.”
While long bombs are Daly’s calling card, he credited his putter with keeping him in the game after he found only 13 greens in regulation.
“Today I hit the ball really well and I putted good the last two days, which is good for me,” he said. “If you make some putts you can play really well. This course gives you a lot more opportunities than most courses.”
Also in the field this week is Davis Love III, who sought refuge in his own golf game to try to deal with last week’s crushing Ryder Cup loss.
“It's good to get back to playing,” the captain of the U.S. team said after posting a 67 to get to 7-under for the week. “It distracts me for four, five hours a day from thinking about last week. I've got a lot of great memories from last week, and when I get by myself I start second guessing and start wishing that we would [have] done something a little different and could've gotten those guys a win.”
Love praised his squad, which squandered a 10-6 edge heading into Sunday’s singles finale and lost 14.5-13.5 to the European team, but said the sting of the collapse would be with him for the foreseeable future.
“I don't think it'll ever go away,” he said. “It was a great team. They played great. They had some bad breaks on Sunday and some guys holed some putts on 'em and turned it over.
“You can't take away from a great week,” Love said, “but winning is what it's all about and we didn't win it.”