Six birdies in seven holes power Haas to three-shot advantage

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June 09, 2007
PGA TOUR staff

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Jay Haas learned long ago not to let one bad hole ruin his round. He certainly didn't Saturday.

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INSIDE THE NUMBERS
JAY HAAS THRU 36 HOLES
Category Total Rank
Eagles 0 N/A
Birdies 15 1
Pars 17 T72
Bogeys 3 T63
Double Bogeys 1 T14
Other 0 N/A
Driving Accuracy 82.1% T10
Driving Distance 300.5 yds. T12
Greens in Regulation 77.8% T10
Putts per Round 27.0 3
Putts per GIR 1.536 1
Sand Saves 0.0 T34

The Champions Tour money leader bounced back from an early double bogey with six birdies in seven holes to open a three-stroke lead in the Principal Charity Classic.

Haas, bidding for his third win of the season, shot a 31 on the back nine and finished at 4-under 67 for a 10-under 132 total.

"I've been doing it for a long time and I've had doubles before, and worse," Haas said. "I know that I didn't shoot myself out of the tournament by making one double bogey. If I played well, I had plenty of time, so I wasn't in any kind of panic mode."

David Edwards (68) was second. Senior PGA Championship winner Denis Watson (67) was 6 under, and Brad Bryant (65) and Mark James (70) were 5 under.

Haas led by one shot after the first round, then hit his drive into the rough on the eighth hole and wound up with a double bogey. But Haas, the only player on the senior circuit with multiple wins this year, picked up strokes on six of the next seven holes -- a stretch highlighted by two straight brilliant shots -- and held the lead the rest of the day.

Haas holed a 44-foot birdie putt on No. 13, then placed his tee shot on the par-3 14th on the elevated back edge of the green. The ball sat on the fringe before rolling within 4 feet of the cup. Haas putted for birdie to move a stroke ahead of Edwards.

"That was pretty lucky," Haas said of his putt on 13. "I happened to hit it on the right line and it went in the middle of the hole. At that time, I felt pretty good about everything."

Haas followed with two straight birdies and made par on 17, a 467-yard, par 4 that has played tougher than any hole on the course through two rounds.

Edwards won the 3M Championship in Minnesota last August, but this season has been a major struggle. Three straight birdies gave Edwards, currently 38th on the money list, a two-stroke lead through 11 holes, but he could only make pars while Haas was stringing together birdies.

Edwards' second shot on the par-4 17th found the water, though he got up-and-down from 80 yards for bogey.

"I'm just playing better. I just haven't played very well this year, but I started to play a little bit better last week," Edwards said. "I've hit the ball a lot better this week than I have been."

Watson had three bogeys, but he also made seven birdies and is in position for his fourth straight top-10 finish.

Bryant shook off a rough first round by shooting the low score of the day. Bryant made six birdies, including one at No. 18, which he bogeyed Friday. Jay Sigel, Morris Hatalsky and Dave Eichelberger were 4 under, and Hale Irwin topped a group at 3 under.

Jim Thorpe, the winner at Glen Oaks Country Club in 2001, was in the mix for much of the day before imploding down the stretch. Thorpe triple-bogeyed 17 -- thanks to a two-stroke penalty he incurred after catching the ball while making a drop -- and bogeyed 18 for a 73 and 2-under total.

Haas led the Boeing Championship by one shot heading into the final round last week, only to shoot a 73 and tie for fifth. He is 2-2 this year when either leading or tied for the lead entering the final round.

"I'm certainly ecstatic to be 10-under par, after standing at the ninth tee 4 under and to make six out of the last 10 was a bonus," Haas said. "To be leading, certainly, is great."

Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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