Haas moves into contention, watches son's progress

Stan Badz/PGA TOUR
Jay Haas fired a 4-under 68 in the second round to move into a tie for third place.
May 06, 2011
Cary Estes, Special to PGATOUR.COM

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Jay Haas readily admits he was watching the leaderboard during Friday's second round of the Regions Tradition at Shoal Creek, but not the one that showed him moving into a tie for third place in the Champions Tour's first major. Rather, Haas had his eye on a leaderboard 400 miles away.


Even as he was shooting a 4-under 68 on Friday, Haas was regularly checking his phone to see how his son, Bill Haas, was doing in the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, N.C. Bill held the first-round lead in the PGA TOUR event after firing a sizzling 64 on Thursday, and Jay wanted to make sure he kept up with his son's progress during Friday's second round.

"When there was any kind of little break in the action, I'd go to my phone and go to PGATOUR.COM and see what was going on," Haas said. "With technology the way it is today it's easy to keep up. Sometimes that's a good thing and sometimes it's a bad thing. If he's not doing well, then it's frustrating and I feel bad for him. But this was a fun day to watch him."

That's because Bill Haas shot a 2-under 70 on Friday and remained solidly in contention for his first PGA TOUR victory of the season and third of his career. And he is doing it on a course, Quail Hollow, where Jay Haas is a member.

"With ShotLink I know exactly where he's hitting it, and since I know that course so well I know what's coming up and what holes are tough and all that stuff," Haas said. "I can keep up with him pretty much shot for shot."

But even though his attention was divided at times Friday, it apparently was not a distraction for Haas. He had four birdies and no bogeys over the final 10 holes to climb into a third-place tie with Michael Allen at 7-under 137, four shots behind leader Mark Calcavecchia.

"When I'm making shots, I can focus," Haas said. "Keeping up with (Bill) doesn't bother me, especially when he's playing well."

What has been of more concern to Haas lately is his own game. He won eight times during this first three seasons (2007-09) on the Champions Tour and finished in the top five of the money list each year. But then he went winless last season, managed only seven top-10s in 23 starts and dropped to 24th on the money list. So far this season he has just one top-10 in seven starts.

"I got exactly what I deserved last year, because I just didn't play very well," Haas said. "I didn't hit good shots, I didn't putt well, I didn't chip well. I didn't do anything well enough to contend out here.

"But I don't feel like I'm done. I don't feel like I'm washed up. I still feel like I can shoot some good scores."

He is proving that to be the case this week with two solid rounds to start the Regions Tradition. Haas faltered early Friday with bogeys on No. 5 and 8, but recovered nicely with birdies on 9, 11, 14 and 17.

"I played very well all day, even on the holes I bogeyed," Haas said. "I hit some nice drives and gave myself some opportunities. I really hit only a couple of shots that I wasn't pleased with. That hasn't happened very much the last year or so. It's nice to be back up there in the hunt.

"So I'm encouraged. I just need to believe in it and trust it. Hopefully Mark doesn't get too crazy on us on the weekend and we have a chance. But I feel like I have some sort of momentum going, and hopefully I can continue that over the weekend."

Haas hopes his son can maintain his momentum as well. He said he saw signs that Bill would have a good tournament this week when they played nine holes together on Monday.

"It was probably as good as I've seen him play. Just the quality of the shots he hit," Haas said. "You could tell he was excited about this week. Sometimes that doesn't equate to good scores, but it seems like this time it did. When I talked to him (Thursday) night he said it was kind of a carryover from Monday.

"It's just fun to see him doing something he enjoys doing and does well. I'll be checking him out over the weekend for sure. Hopefully we'll both be in the hunt on Sunday, and it will be a good day for the Haas family."