Seven players are within one shot of Frazar's lead, including Cameron Beckman, who wasn't sure when he woke up Wednesday morning whether he would even be in the tournament.
Beckman received a spot in the field, which consists of 128 pros and 128 amateurs, when defending champion Jesper Parnevik withdrew to stay home with his expectant wife.
Beckman made the most of his opportunity - carding one eagle, seven birdies and a bogey for a career-best eight-under-par 64.
'You get a good break like that and you want to take advantage of it,' Beckman said. 'I really didn't think I'd get in.'
Also in at eight-under is Mark Calcavecchia. Calcavecchia, who had problems navigating the rocky Pebble Beach greens, is back in his comfort zone in La Quinta, Calif.
Three weeks ago, Calc established a PGA Tour 72-hole scoring record with an aggregate total of 256 in the Phoenix Open. But one week after shooting 28-under-par, Calcavecchia missed the cut at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. He even broke his putter - the same one that recorded 32 birdies - mid-way through the second round.
'I came here on Sunday and I don't even come to majors that early,' said Calcavecchia, who skipped last week's Buick Invitational. 'I was anxious to play again.'
Playing the La Quinta course, one of four layouts in rotation this week, Calcavecchia posted eight birdies and ten pars, including four-in-a-row to finish his round.
'It's good to be back in the desert where the greens are a lot like they were in Phoenix,' said Calcavecchia.
Seven players share ninth place, just two shots off the lead. One of those is Brent Geiberger, who is coming off a tie for fifth at the Buick; another is David Duval.
Duval has had little success in 2001, missing the cut in back-to-back starts (Phoenix and Pebble Beach) for the first time since 1998. Some may trace his poor play to a change in equipment (Titleist to Nike) or the dueling lawsuits between he and Acushnet, Titleist's parent company. But Duval blames his putter.
Wednesday, putting was not a problem. Duval needed only 26 swipes of the flatstick en route to a bogey-free 65 on the Bermuda Dunes track.
This is the first time since 1999 that PGA West has played as the host course to this event. That year, Duval fired a Sunday 59 to win.
Frazar never reached that territory on Wednesday, but he did post nine birdies and nine pars - despite being just one-under through six holes.
'I want it to be a track meet this week,' said Frazar. 'I feel I can run off a lot of birdies at any given time. My putter is streaky and so are my irons.'
Frazar has yet to win in three full seasons on Tour, though he has earned a pair of runner-up finishes. Last week, Frazar was one off the lead through 13 holes in the final round, but tied for 10th. That finish is one three top-20s posted by Frazar already this season.
'I'm proud of myself the way I've played this early,' he said. 'I've never played well on the West Coast.'
News, Notes and Numbers
*Harrison Frazar was Justin Leonard's roommate at the University of Texas.
*102 of the 128 players in the field broke par in the first round.
*Bob Hope's wife, Delores, said the 97-year-old comedian would not be out all week, despite being in what she said was good health.
*Arnold Palmer, who has won five Hopes, opened in 81.
*This is the penultimate event on the 2001 West Coast Swing. Several players near the first-round lead will be sorry to see the Tour head South. In addition to Calcavecchia's win at the Phoenix Open, Glen Day (T2) tied for 6th at Pebble Beach. Cameron Beckman (T2) tied for 10th at the Buick Invitational. Kevin Sutherland (T2) finished runner-up in Tucson. Garrett Willis (T9) won the Tucson Open. Chris Smith (T9) tied for 10th at the Buick. Brent Geiberger (T9) tied for fifth at the Buick.
*Beckman turns 31 on Thursday.
*Of the four courses in rotation this week, Indian Wells played the easiest in the first round at 68.719. Bermuda Dunes played at 69.125. PGA West played at 69.438. La Quinta (host course) played at 70.125. All four courses are a par-72.
Click here for Full-Field scores from the Bob Hope!