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August 2 2013

3:03 PM

Opportunistic Haas fires 68

Bill Haas two-putts for birdie at the second hole on Friday.

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM

AKRON, Ohio -- His ball-striking was "good enough" and the resulting round of 68 on Friday propeled Bill Haas to 5 under at the midway point of the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational.

Haas hit 10 fairways on Friday, two more than in the first round, and 11 greens in regulation, two less than he did on Thursday, but in most cases, his misses were such that Haas was able to recover as he made three birdies and just two bogeys.

"Pretty solid ball striking, maybe not ideal, but good enough, and just pretty consistent," Haas said. "... Certainly not perfect, and hopefully this weekend if my ball striking is a little bit better, I feel really good with the putter.'

And why not? Haas only needed 27 putts on Friday and he was tied for first in distance of putts made when he finished his round.

"I think I can if I strike it a little bit better, I feel like I can shoot a 66 or a 65," Haas said. "But like I said, I'm not striking it great, but when I've missed shots I've been able to save par."

An example came at the ninth hole where Haas missed the green to the left but converted a 12-footer to save a final par.

"So a good (12-footer) made it look like I hit it well, but I didn't," he said. "If the putter is feeling good and I have good thoughts with that, if that stays the same this weekend, hopefully I'll be there on Sunday."

Haas, who won the AT&T National in June and has seven other top-10 finishes, said Firestone Country Club is playing as "tough as I've ever seen it." The rough, in particular, has been a challenge.

"Like No. 9, I couldn't even reach the green, I don't think, from a good drive," Haas said. "It landed 15 yards into the fairway, and it went in the rough, and I couldn't reach the green.
   
"The rough is thick, greens are pretty quick. I don't know, it's just long, too, you're not getting much roll. So I hit 4- and 5-irons into a lot of these greens. Most of the courses we play half the time you're hitting 7- and 8-irons to give you birdie chances."

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