Comfortable Haas ties Tour mark with 60 in season finale

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Chris Condon/PGA TOUR
Jay Haas shot a Champions Tour record-tying 60 on Friday at Desert Mountain while playing with longtime friend Fred Couples.
November 02, 2012
John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Jay Haas can't be much more comfortable on a golf course than when he's paired with Fred Couples, as the two have been friends for decades and Presidents Cup assistant captain and captain twice.

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"As relaxed a round as you can play in this situation," Haas said.

What's to be said for being relaxed on the course? How about a 60?

That's what Haas fired in Round 2 of the Charles Schwab Cup Championship, a three-hour lightning-in-a-bottle burst that vaulted him to the top of the season finale, one of the few things he hasn't won on the Champions Tour.

Haas started the round 1 under through five, then the barrage began. Over the final 13 holes, he had nine birdies (including a back-nine 28) on the par-70 Desert Mountain Cochise Course.

"It was just a wonderful day, one of those that you don't want to end," said Haas, who leads by five shots. "I'd like to keep going out there and see how many more I can tack on."

There hasn't been a 59 yet on the Champions Tour. Haas' 60 was the eighth on the 50-and-over circuit.

On the par-5 18th he needed eagle for 59 and was in the greenside bunker in two shots, but came up short with the bunker shot. He made the ensuing 6-footer for the 60.

"I knew at that stage if I made (the bunker shot), it was for 59. I was trying to talk myself into it," said Haas, who couldn't remember another time he had a shot at golf's magic number.

Haas got his round jumpstarted at the 10th hole, when he chipped in from 35 feet out for birdie. His chipping had been iffy lately, but an hour on Monday down the street at Grayhawk Golf Club with short-game guru Stan Utley got things fixed. Haas chipped in during his pro-am, then on Friday.

At times, he and playing partner Couples were both filling it up. Both had four consecutive birdies -- Haas from No. 10 through 13, Couples from No. 11 through 14.

Couples shot 66, and lost the match by a half-dozen shots.

Interview: Jay Haas

Jay Haas meets with the media and talks about his magical round at the Desert Mountain Club?s Cochise course.

"I had a good time, 4-under par, I'm not going to complain," Couples said. "But when a guy is shooting 10 under it seems like you're shooting 80."

Haas' previous low on the Champions Tour was a 62 at the 2009 Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn. The last 60 on the Champions Tour was last year, by Nick Price at the Toshiba Classic. Haas, 58, isn't the oldest player to shoot the number; Walter Morgan did it at age 61 in 2002 at the AT&T Canada Senior Open Championship.

The final group in Saturday's third round will be Haas and Tom Lehman, in an interesting bit of symmetry. Lehman is chasing the win and something that Haas already owns -- two Charles Schwab Cups. Haas won in 2006 and '08, one of four to win a pair of the season-long prizes.

But Lehman is chasing back-to-back, which has never been done. Haas came the closest to doing it in 2007, when he finished second to Loren Roberts.

"It's just a lot of good players out here, the field is getting deeper all the time," Haas said. "Just kind of a timing thing."

Kind of like playing with one of your best friends on Tour and shooting 60.

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