Perry needed birdies on two of the final three holes at the TPC-River Highlands course to become the fourth player in PGA Tour history to shoot a 59. He got to 9-under when he birdied the short par-4 15th after reaching the green with his drive, and then had birdie efforts from eight, 25 and 24 feet on the final three holes -- but he could not make any of those putts and wound up with a two-shot advantage over Paul Goydos and Charles Warren.
"I had it (a possible 59) in the back of my head," Perry said. "Today was a good day to do it. I just didn't get it done."
His 61 matched the course record set in 2000 by Kirk Triplett and since tied by Phil Mickelson, Scott Verplank and Brad Faxon.
Perry finished in the top 10 in seven of his first 10 tournaments this year, including a win at the FBR Open and a playoff loss to Angel Cabrera at the Masters. Since his disappointment at the Augusta National Golf Club, Perry has not finished among the top 25 in five starts.
Boo Weekley was among those tied for fourth at 64 and newly crowned U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover shot a 65. Ricky Barnes, who had a six-shot lead during the third round of the Open, also had a 65.
Anthony Kim shot a 66, his second-lowest round of the year.