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January 19 2012

1:29 AM

FedExCup Update: Early chance for Haas

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La Quinta has been kind to Bill Haas in recent years.
FEDEXCUP: Current standings | Weekly leaders | More By Chris Dunham, PGATOUR.COM Does anyone enjoy the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation more than Bill Haas? The reigning FedExCup champion has found no shortage of success in seven starts in La Quinta. The 2010 champion and 2011 runner-up has posted 20 consecutive sub-70 rounds here. In seven starts, Haas has just one round over par and no finish lower than a tie for 34th (2005, in his event debut). This week presents the 29-year-old’s second opportunity to get a quick start on his title defense. His first attempt didn’t go as well as hoped when Haas started 2012 with two even-par 73s while more than half the field was posting red numbers at Kapalua. Bookends were key for Haas en route to the 2011 FedExCup title. Of his seven top-10 finished, Haas had three to open his year and one to close the FedExCup season. If he doesn’t have a good week here, Haas will be behind his schedule from the last two years and will need to make up ground elsewhere. With more than 30 events ahead, he’ll have plenty of opportunities to rack up points, though. FRAZAR ENTERS THE PICTURE: Sticking with golf is looking like a very good decision for Harrison Frazar. It took 355 starts for Frazar to break through with his maiden victory (last year’s FedEx St. Jude Classic). Prior to that, Frazar hadn’t finished inside the top 10 since the 2009 Turning Stone Resort Championship or the top 3 since 2005 at Disney. Now Frazar is off to one of the best starts on TOUR, earning a tie for fifth and a T2 in two 2012 starts -- the only player with two top-5 finishes -- and a fourth-place standing in the FedExCup race. ROOKIE SECONDS: While the Sony Open in Hawaii has not featured a rookie finisher inside the top 10 since 2009, the Humana Challenge is far more welcoming to the first-year TOUR pros. Three rookies -- Chris Kirk, Keegan Bradley and champion Jhonattan Vegas -- finished inside the top 10 here last year. Interestingly, that trio all ended the season with victories and spots in the top five of PGATOUR.COM’s Rookie Rankings. Ted Potter Jr. (T13 at the Sony Open) is off to the best start in this year’s class.
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