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September 30 2011

8:09 PM

Haas ties course record after 59 threat

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A Vegas 59 wasn't in the cards for Hunter Haas, but his 61 puts him into contention.
By Chris Dunham, PGATOUR.COM A year after the PGA TOUR saw two 59s in one season, Hunter Haas threatened the number again at the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Haas played his final four holes at even par Friday after getting to 10 under on the par-71 layout at TPC Summerlin. That number is where he would finish up, posting at 61 that ties Tag Ridings and Davis Love III for the course record. It could have been so much more if not for a bogey on No. 6, his 15th hole of the day, that halted his momentum. “I know I had a chance,” Haas said. “After I birdied the fourth or fifth hole, you know, at the par 3 I knew I had at least three good birdie opportunities coming in … And I screwed it up.” After making the turn in 30, Haas started the front nine with four birdies on his first five holes. Standing in the middle of TPC Summerlin’s sixth fairway with a wedge in his hands, Haas was in position to attack for one of the two birdies he would need on the final four holes to shoot the sixth 59 in PGA TOUR history. His wedge shot fell 34 yards short and right of the pin in the right rough, just his second missed green of the day. Then the pitch settled 18 feet from the pin. Two putts later, Haas had his first bogey of the day and his hopes of a 59 were all but dashed. “The one bogey I had I was in the middle of the fairway,” he said. “It's kind of like yesterday. I made two bogeys from the middle of the fairway with wedge in my hand, and that's kind of disappointing. I did the same today. That's three bogeys with a wedge in my hand (this week).” Aside from the miss on No. 6, Haas’ ball striking on approach shots was nearly flawless on Friday. The 34-year-old Texan hit nine fairways in Round 2 and notched 16 greens in regulation. “I'm still trying to tighten up my ball striking,” Haas said. “I hit a few errant shots, but there's a lot of short irons out there on this golf course. If you drive your ball well, you're probably going to have a lot of birdie opportunities.” Haas was leaving himself great opportunities and converting. Of his nine second-round birdies, six came from inside 8 feet. “I was burning (the edges) pretty good yesterday, but honestly, I just wasn't happy with the way I hit my wedges, and I was a little frustrated,” Haas said. “But I hit probably three or four shots pretty close today, and I just felt good over the putts.” Haas will the weekend at TPC Summerlin at least two shots off the pace, needing to continue striking the ball well to get to the top of the leaderboard. His best two-round stretch of the 2011 season up to this point came in Rounds 1 and 2 of the Viking Classic where he went 66-64 and went on to finish in a tie for 4th. “We'll see if I can go out and do what I did today (again) tomorrow,” Haas said. “And it was tough, but I'm just going to keep doing what I've been doing.”
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