LA QUINTA, Calif. — When Mark Wilson got to 8 under through 11 holes on the Palmer Private course Friday, he seriously discussed golf's magic number with playing partner Harrison Frazar, who once shot 59 on another course in the same tournament.
"I don't know why the conversation went there … but I thought about it," Wilson said.
Wilson ended up posting the lowest score of his career, and that 62 wasn't even the best round of the day in the desert at the Humana Challenge. Bob Hope's name is no longer on this reformatted tournament, but its tradition of stunningly low scores is still strong.
Wilson tied Ben Crane and David Toms at 16-under 128 to lead after the second round of Friday, topping by three a leaderboard covered with bogey-free rounds and personal bests.
Ryan Moore tied the Nicklaus course record with 61, yet was five strokes back of the lead — and wasn't even among 23 bogey-free rounds Friday.
"Everything has been much improved, and we got a much better field because of it," said Crane, who had just 48 putts in his first two rounds. "This is a great place for players to start their year, because it's like playing indoors."
Crane shot 63 on the three-course tournament's Palmer Private course, and Toms had 65 on the Nicklaus Private course to match Wilson. Rookie Harris English (62 on Nicklaus Private) joined five players in fourth place at 13 under.
Moore tied Charlie Wi's 2009 record on the Nicklaus course despite consecutive bogeys on his second and third holes before an eagle on the fourth.
Toms' playing partner, Phil Mickelson, shot 69, staying well back of the leaders at 143 total while trying a new driver.
Dustin Johnson, the event's top-ranked player at No. 8, withdrew after nine holes. He had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in November and hadn't walked 18 holes until Thursday.
Former President Bill Clinton, whose foundation is backing this event along with Humana, will play today in the pro-am alongside Greg Norman.
CHAMPIONS: Tom Lehman and Bruce Vaughan shot 7-under 65 to share the first-round lead in the 50-plus tour's opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship in Kaupulehu-Kona, Hawaii.