MARANA, Ariz. -- Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium, a 10th seed, defeated American Bill Haas, a seventh seed, 5 and 4, in their first-round match at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship.
Colsaerts advances to play the Justin Rose-K.J. Choi winner in the second round of the Hogan bracket.
Colsaerts entered the day 3 up through eight holes. He parred all six of his holes Thursday. Meanwhile, Haas bogeyed the par-5 11th when he was forced to take a penalty stroke after an errant tee shot, then bogeyed the par-4 14th after a poor approach shot left him in the native area.
Haas had just one birdie against five bogeys on his scorecard.
"Bill didn't really play his best," Colsaerts said. "We've seen that. But I was just making sure that I was putting myself in position and maybe put a little bit of pressure on Bill. That seemed to have done the trick."
Colsaerts is making just his second appearance in this event. He lost in the first round last year but he won the Volvo World Match Play on the European Tour last year.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. -- On a glass half-full or half-empty kind of Sunday, Bill Haas smartly chose the former.
Make no mistake, he was disappointed. But even after squandering a three-stroke advantage in a seven-hole stretch where he made five bogeys, Haas reversed course and still finished just one shot out of a playoff in his title defense at the Northern Trust Open.
"Maybe next time I'll handle it better but I know I'll be nervous again," said Haas, who birdied his last two holes to get into a tie for third. "That's part of the deal but hopefully I can handle it just one shot better, one shot better today I'm in a playoff and two shots better I win the tournament.
"Positives to be taken but overall, you don't get this many opportunities. A three-shot lead at one of the best tournaments of the year is great opportunity that I squandered."
Haas appeared solid early on Sunday as he two-putted the first hole from 37 feet for birdie and bounced from a bogey at the second with a 30-footer at No. 3. In hindsight, he wishes he'd kept the driver in his bag at No. 8 and the always-tempting 10th, and he'd love to have had a mulligan on his second shot at the par-5 11th that turned a much-needed-birdie-to-stop-the-bleeding into a par.
"Those three shots stick out in my head as, if I could do those over again, maybe it turns out something different," Haas said.
The soft-spoken South Carolinian, who picked up his fourth PGA TOUR win at Riviera a year ago when he beat Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley in a playoff, had played well all week. The 64 he shot Saturday was stellar on a day when the venerable course was playing extremely firm and fast and Haas had what appeared to be a comfortable lead heading into the final round.
"I really felt good," Haas said. "Didn't think I could shoot over par, and then all of a sudden to be 4 over par for the day (on the 14th tee), just kind of hit me and every shot, I wasn't comfortable, and didn't hit a good shot. So I deserved it."
Even so, the tie for third with Fredrick Jacobson and Charl Schwartzel was Haas' third straight top-10 finish so he'll head to Arizona for the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship with momentum for his first-round match with Nicolas Colsaerts.
"Absolutely," Haas said. "Even just the last two holes there, to finish birdie, birdie putts at least somewhat of a good taste in my mouth."
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. -- Consecutive bogeys at the seventh and eighth holes have turned Bill Haas' comfortable three-stroke lead into one.
Haas found a fairway bunker, then chunked a chip at the eighth hole, leaving himself 35 feet for par. When he two-putted for just his fourth bogey of the week, Haas dropped back to 11 under.
Charlie Beljan, Hunter Mahan, John Merrick and Fredrik Jacobsen are Haas' nearest competitors after making the turn in 32 31, 34 and 33, respectively. Webb Simpson was also at 10 under until he hit his drive at No. 8 well left and into a bush, where he had to take a drop on the way to a bogey.
Simpson is tied with playing partner Charl Schwartzel, who is even for the day, at 9 under.
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. -- Bill Haas' lead is now just two after he made his first bogey in 42 holes at the second hole on Sunday.
Haas drove into the tree-lined right rough and then put his his second shot into the right greenside bunker. He blasted out to 8 feet but missed the putt for par to drop back to 12 under, which is where he started the day.
Haas, who had two-putted from 37 feet for birdie at No. 1, bounced back quickly, though, when he drained a 30-footer at the third hole. His playing partner, Webb Simpson, answered with a 5-footer for his second birdie of the day to move to 11 under.
The other member of the final group, Charl Schwartzel, missed an 11-foot birdie putt at the first hole, which is playing the easiest on the course, and then lipped out a 7-footer for par at the second to fall back to 8 under.
Fredrik Jacobson is the only other player in double figures at 10 under after making birdie on two of his first three holes.
Bill Haas has a three-shot lead going into the final round at Riviera. (How/Getty Images)
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
Bill Haas will have a familiar face alongside him in the final group: fellow Wake Forest alum Webb Simpson, who arrived on the Winston Salem, N.C., campus the year after Haas graduated.
But part of the reason Haas is playing in the final group goes back to some work he did on his swing with coach Billy Harmon and dad and Champions Tour player Jay Haas after the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation.
"My swing looked lazy and I was getting ahead of it," Haas told Golf Channel Sunday morning. "I'm basically trying to hit it really high and a little harder. It's helped me stay behind it. Having a little more speed is key for me."
A third-round 64 certainly helped.
As for playing with Simpson, whom he leads by three? "It'll be an easy walk," Haas said. "I have to beat the golf course. We'll be grinding out there."
Haas and Simpson will tee off, along with Charl Schwartzel (also three back), at 1:30 p.m. ET.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. -- A year ago, Bill Haas faced a two-stroke deficit in the final round of the Northern Trust Open.
On Sunday, though, he'll be the hunted instead of the hunter as Haas takes a three-shot advantage into the final round of his title defense at venerable Riviera Country Club. The third-round 64 he shot tied for the low of the week and was three strokes better than anyone else in the field.
Haas knows Sunday won't be easy, though. He closed with a 67 a year ago and ended up beating Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley, the overnight leaders, on the second hole of sudden death.
""(It's) very difficult in this game to just pull away from the rest of the field," he said. "You've only seen a few guys ever really do that. And those are guys like Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson.
"So I think I've just got to try to stay in the moment, don't let my emotions get the best of me. ... The guys behind me are going to make birdies and it will certainly get closer at the top. So I've just got to try to hang in there and give myself a chance on the back nine."
Haas has completed 54 holes in 12 under which is three strokes ahead of another former Wake Forest All-American in Webb Simpson, who is the reigning U.S. Open champion; as well as the 2011 Masters champ, Charl Schwartzel, and former UCLA standout John Merrick.
Simpson and Schwartzel both shot 68s on Saturday while Merrick, who is from Long Beach, bogeyed the last hole for a 70.
"Bill shooting 7 under is incredible out there," Simpson said. "I mean, it was very tough. I felt like my 3 under was pretty good."
World No. 3 Luke Donald and overnight co-leader Fredrik Jacobson are tied for fifth at 8 under. Donald, who is playing in his first tournament of 2013, shot 70 on Saturday while Jacobson had a 72.
Haas will be seeking to join Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Paul Harney, Mike Weir, Corey Pavin and Phil Mickelson in winning back-to-back at Riviera. The 30-year-old, who won the 2011 FedExCup, is looking to win for the fifth time in his career -- as well as for the fourth straight season.
Haas, who tied for ninth and fifth in his last two starts, hasn't made a bogey since his 14th hole on Thursday. He has played his last 40 holes in 11 under, making nine birdies and an eagle Saturday at the driveable par-4 10th.
"I made some great up-and-downs to keep things going and the chip-in at 10 was a nice bonus," Haas said.
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. -- The 10th hole at Riviera Country Club has been pretty good to Bill Haas.
He just chipped in from 57 feet for eagle at the driveable par 4 to open a two-stroke lead midway during the third round of the Northern Trust Open. A year ago Haas drained a 40-footer for birdie there to beat Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley on the second hole of sudden death.
Haas' eagle was the third of the day at No. 10, which is playing to 286 yards today, and the fourth of the tournament. He's now 10 under and two strokes ahead of Charl Schwartzel.
Josh Teater, Webb Simpson, Sang-moon Bae, Fredrik Jacobson and John Merrick are tied for third at 7 under while Sergio Garcia is alone at 7 under.
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. -- Webb Simpson and Charl Schwartzel are applying pressure on Saturday during the third round of the Northern Trust Open.
Playing in successive groups, the reigning U.S. Open champion and the 2011 Masters winner have made two birdies in their first six holes to get to 8 under and pull within a stroke of Sang-moon Bae.
Fredrik Jacobson, who was tied with Bae, had his problems on the fifth hole when his drive landed on the side of a hill in deep rough. He took one swipe at the ball and didn't advance it, eventually reaching the green in four and lipping out a 34-footer for bogey.
Defending champion Bill Haas is on the move, as well. He's made two birdies in his first eight holes and is tied at 7 under.
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. -- The first 10 holes of Bill Haas' title defense at the Northern Trust Open have landed him in a tie for the lead with Matt Kuchar.
The two started on opposite nines within 11 minutes of each other. Kuchar birdied his first three holes and ended up making the turn in 4 under. Haas, who started on the back nine, shot 33 and then made a 15-footer to tie Kuchar.
The ageless Fred Couples is tied with Brandt Jobe. Pat Perez, Jimmy Walker, Josh Teater and rookie James Hahn for third at 2 under. The 53-year-old Couples, who is playing in his 31st Northern Trust Open, has just made the turn.
Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley, the two men Haas beat in that playoff last year, aren't faring as well. They are playing with Haas in one of the day's featured groups -- Mickelson is even par while Bradley is 1 over.