PALM DESERT – Pat Perez shot a 12-under 60 in the opening round of the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic on Wednesday, joining some elite company. Perez became only the 20th player in PGA Tour history to shoot 60 or lower. The record is 59, shared by David Duval, Chip Beck and Al Geiberger. The 29-year-old Perez, who joined the tour in 2002 and is still looking for his first win, began the opening day of the five-day Hope on the back nine at PGA West. Setting the tone for his round, he hit a 9-iron within 6 feet of the pin and sank the birdie putt. He chipped within 6 inches of the cup on the next green and tapped in for another birdie. After a par on No. 12, he rolled in a 35-footer for birdie on No. 13. “I hadn’t made one of those in a while,” Perez said. “It just kind of snowballed and everything started going in.” He was 6 under by the turn, then made consecutive birdies on his final three holes. Along with the 35-footer, one of his birdie putts was from 12 feet, three were from around 10 feet, and the others were closer to the cup. His round included just 22 putts. But he missed chances to go even lower, Perez said with a chuckle. “I know it’s hard to say, but I left two par 5s with easy shots, right in the middle of the fairway and two-putted there,” he explained. “I missed about an 8-footer on 3. But other than that, it was a great day.” Perez said he worked hard at conditioning over the winter, and feels stronger both physically and mentally. “I feel clearer on the course than I have been. I’m not tired and slouching,” he said. “I just feel a lot better.” He said he’s also learning to control his temper on the golf course. “I’m really trying to work on changing my reputation (for) having a huge attitude and bad temper and the whole thing,” Perez said. He said he began realizing how “stupid and embarrassing” it was to lose his temper. “It was just a sit down, look in the mirror and say, `Quit doing this.’ And that’s it, just stick with it because it’s embarrassing,” Perez said. Campbell shot his 63 at Bermuda Dunes Country Club and was surprised to be three shots off the lead. “You expect low scores out here, but don’t usually expect a 60. That’s a phenomenal round,” Campbell said. “You can’t really get too overwhelmed with the first round. You’ve just got to keep it up throughout the week. “That makes it tough. Five days, it’s tough to keep that pace up. But you have to do it around here.” Elkington was pleased with his play at La Quinta Country Club. “It’s the first round of the year for me, so I’m delighted,” he said. “Obviously, everything that I’ve been working on in the off-season and all that came together.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Consistently nestling his fairway shots close to the pin, Perez made 12 birdies and no bogeys over the 6,930-yard Arnold Palmer Course at PGA West for a three-shot lead over Chad Campbell. Duval shot his 59 on the same layout on closing day of the 1999 Hope, rolling in a 6-foot eagle putt on the final hole to win by one shot. He finished with 11 birdies and the eagle. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded cardSteve Elkington was a stroke behind Campbell. John Huston, Olin Browne and Tom Pernice Jr. were tied for fourth with opening 65s. Phil Mickelson, the Hope champion in 2002 and 2004, shot a 6-under 66 at La Quinta Country Club in his seasonal debut and was in a group six shots off the pace. Mickelson had shot the most recent 60 on tour last year at Scottsdale, Ariz. Defending champion Justin Leonard opened with a 67, as did Mike Weir, the Hope winner in 2003. The first four rounds of the 90-hole tournament are a pro-am, with the players alternating among four different courses. The final day is pros only, with the field trimmed to the low-scoring 70 players and ties.