Haas guided by father's advice at Valspar
March 12, 2016
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
- Bill Haas has recorded two top-10 finishes in seven TOUR starts this season. (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
PALM HARBOR, Fla. -- Here are a few observations after Saturday's third round of the Valspar Championship, where Bill Haas fired his second straight 67 to move to 8 under and take a one-stroke lead over Graham DeLaet.
For more on Saturday’s third round at Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead course, click here to read the Daily Wrap-up.
1. EXTRA SET OF EYES: Bill Haas has always valued the opinion of his father, Jay, a nine-time PGA TOUR winner, above all others. So he asked last year's victorious Presidents Cup captain to come to Innisbrook to have a look at his game.
"I was just hoping he would have the magical touch and change it for me, and luckily so far (so good)," Haas said.
The former Wake Forest All-American, who picked up the clinching point at those matches in South Korea, hadn't gotten off to the kind of start he wanted for the 2015-16 season. Haas had posted two top-10s in seven events but hadn't been in the heat of contention -- until this week, that is.
Haas credited his father with helping him come up with a swing thought that has carried him to the top of the Valspar Championship leaderboard. On the fifth hole of his Tuesday practice round, they decided he should try to abbreviate his follow through while still hitting a full shot.
Haas thinks that makes him speed up his hands a little and decreases his tendency to hit shots right when his lower body moves through and his upper body hangs behind.
"So, just that one swing thought, in turn, does something in my swing," Haas said. "Now, I'm not a technical guy so I don't think I do well if I'm thinking clubhead position, but I do well when I'm thinking type of golf shot, if that makes any sense.
"So, yeah, he came up with the swing thought I've had basically for three days, and I'm leading so ... without him coming down, I might not even have made the weekend. It was very valuable."
Hole outs for everyone, Justin Thomas hits the deck
2. FIRST BLOOD: DeLaet, who shot 68 in the third round, will be seeking his breakthrough PGA TOUR victory on Sunday at the Copperhead Course in his 137th career start.
DeLaet has finished second three times, most recently at the 2014 Waste Management Phoenix Open. But his last victory came at the 2009 ATB Financial Classic on the Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada.
"I think (Sunday) is going to be the day," the Boise State product said.
"I'm going to go out there and try to win this golf tournament. Every time in this position I kind of say the politically correct things. I'm going to go and win this golf tournament tomorrow. That's my plan."
At the same time, DeLaet, who leads the field in strokes gained: tee-to-green at +12.71, knows better than to get ahead of himself. He knows how difficult it is to win at the highest level and he's not taking anything for granted.
"It's hard every time, I think, but I think once I break through, I hope that that will make it easier," DeLaet said. "(I) know that I have it in me … right now I know that I have what it takes, but I still haven't ever gotten it done.
"That's kind of the next step in my career."
SHOT OF THE DAY
Shot of the Day
Jordan Spieth drains a 52-foot eagle putt for the Shot of the Day
After an opening-round 76, Jordan Spieth has fired rounds of 68-67 to climb back into the mix. He enters the final round in a tie for ninth, six strokes back of Haas.
Click here for more on Spieth's turnaround this week at the Copperhead course.
3. HAIR WE GO: Haas and DeLaet will be a study in contrasts on Sunday when they tee off at 1:50 p.m. ET in the final group.
Haas is clean-shaven -- even down to the hair on the top of the head. DeLaet, on the other hand, has an extremely full beard that stretches down to his collarbone.
"He wears it well," Haas said. "But I remember when I was young … my dad, when I started shaving and playing golf, he would always say, ‘Did Arnold ever have a beard? Did Jack ever have a beard? Did you lose your razor, Bill?’ I would get those a lot.
"That was just instilled in me. But Graham wears it well. It looks good on him. I'm just joking there."
Haas said he was talking with DeLaet on Saturday morning and asked him how much longer he'd keep the beard.
"He's like, 'Yeah, one day, probably wake up and shave it,'" Haas said. "He has no timetable. I mean, it works. ... That's what hockey players do, right, playoff beard? He's got a full-year beard."
DeLaet said he gets some comments from the crowd, particularly on a Saturday after fans become well-lubricated, but that most people seem to like the beard.
"I'm not doing it for any specific reason other than just kind of being myself, I guess," he said.
Sometimes, DeLaet said, little kids in the autograph line reach for a handful of the beard.
"It doesn't hurt as much," he said. "When they grab my chest hair, that's it."
QUOTE OF THE DAYMaybe trying to figure it out has hurt me more than just playing the game and seeing what happens.
4. DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN: A year ago, Patrick Reed drained a 30-footer for birdie on the 72nd hole at the Valspar Championship for a 66 and a spot in a three-man playoff won by Jordan Spieth.
Reed, who didn't make a bogey over his final 28 holes on the Copperhead in 2015, has a chance to avenge that loss on Sunday. He'll start the final round at 4 under, tied for fifth and four strokes behind Haas.
A year ago, Reed trailed by the same margin entering the final round, with Ryan Moore in the lead. Interestingly, Moore is one stroke ahead of Reed this year.
And Reed, who closed with a 31 on the final nine a year ago, says he can draw on that performance come Sunday.
"Just giving me a little more confidence, little comfort because last year, I was watching it on TV, I think I was at 8 under with four to go starting on 15 and I was three back and was able to get into a playoff," Reed said.
"... Everyone has a shot. Make some putts and hit some close ones. There's a real low one out there."
CALL OF THE DAY
Fred Albers calls Bill Haas' chip-in birdie on No. 15 in the third round of the 2016 Valspar Championship.
Free play-by-play coverage of the final round streams from 1-6 p.m. ET on PGATOUR.COM.
BEST OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Round of the day goes to ... a University of Georgia senior.— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 12, 2016
Lee McCoy with a sizzling 66. https://t.co/aTLuvXwULX
Looking forward to playing with the world number 1 late tomorrow. Gonna be a day to remember— Lee McCoy (@LeeMcCoyGolf) March 13, 2016