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November 3 2011

11:42 PM

Schwab Cup C’ship: Haas, Couples tied

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Chris Condon/PGA TOUR
Jay Haas shot 3 under for a share of the opening-round lead at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship.

By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM

SAN FRANCISCO – To get a sense of how different Round 1 was in the Charles Schwab Cup Championship compared to a glorious two days of practice and pro-am, Jay Haas offers two versions of the par-4 14th at TPC Harding Park.

In great weather Wednesday, he had 168 yards to the green. A 7-iron.

In the cold, windy, drizzly Thursday, off what he called a “smashed” drive, he had 221 in. A 17-degree hybrid shot.

Then again, Haas knocked the hybrid on the green (one of just a few to do so Thursday), a microcosm of his 3 under day in the opening round. The former Schwab Cup winner, who is still hearing congratulations from the gallery for son Bill’s FedExCup title, made four birdies with just one bogey on a day were just seven of the 30 players were under par. David Frost and Michael Allen are at 2 under.

“It was a very difficult day,” Haas said. “The last few days kind of teased us a little bit. Just the cool, the wind, the rain, makes this place pretty difficult.

“Ball just does not go very far out here, so we’re hitting one or two clubs more than maybe we would somewhere else where it would be above room temperature, I guess you would say.”

Fred Couples also shot 3-under 68 and will be paired tomorrow with his Presidents Cup assistant captain.

Couples, a winner in two of his last five starts on the Champions Tour including a seven-shot romp two weeks ago at the AT&T Championship, got to five under at the turn Thursday but had three bogeys coming in, offset by a birdie on No. 18.

“I have no problem with shooting a couple over on the back; it was nice to get off to that kind of start,” Couples said. “The most exciting thing is that I’ll be playing with Jay tomorrow. We haven’t played much this year and with what’s going on, we’ll have a good time out there.”

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