Haas trying to earn his card | NevadaAppeal.com

Haas trying to earn his card

RENO – Bill Haas would like nothing better than to be a card-carrying member of the PGA Tour, and if he keeps playing like he has the first three days of the Reno-Tahoe Open, he won’t have long to wait.

Haas charged into contention with rounds of 68 and 67 on Saturday giving him 206 after three rounds. Because of Friday’s rain/lightning delay, Haas had to play 33 holes.

“It was a long day,” said Haas, the son of PGA Tour pro Jay Haas. “You have to stay in the moment. Everybody else had to do it.

“The winds picked up. There were 20 mile-per-hour winds when we started. Now it’s pretty tame. That’s bad because the leaders are still out there.”

Haas was granted seven sponsor exemptions this year, and he’s won $107,365 in his first five tournaments. For him to qualify, he has to equal the money of last year’s 150th-place money winner (approximately $350,000) or win a tournament. If he finishes in the top-10 this weekend, he gets an automatic entry into next week’s tournament and can save his final exemption.

He appears to be dealing with the pressure of earning his card just fine.

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“There’s pressure from myself,” he said. “Nobody’s pushing me. It’s a marathon. You don’t have to be out here next week. If it takes three years, it takes three years. It would be great to shoot 65, finish in the top three and not have to worry about it.”

Haas was even on the front side in his third round, but caught fire on his last six holes, going birdie, par, par, par, eagle and birdie.

“I hit a good drive (on 17),” Haas said. “I hit a so-so 3-wood into the front bunker. The pin was in back, and I played a 9-iron; a long bunker shot. The ball hit 20 feet short, rolled and went in.”

Haas would certainly like to improve his putting. He missed three birdie attempts of less than 8 feet. He said he’s had problems with short putts the last three weeks.

“I don’t know what the deal is,” Haas said. “I guess I have to be more confident.”

TOUGH DAY IN WIND

Nearly every player interviewed talked about how much the wind affected play on Saturday.

“It blew all day long,” said Vaughn Taylor, who bogeyed his 18th hole to fall a shot off the lead. “It was tough to pick a club. It definitely made things tough.”

“The wind was blowing 15-to-20 miles an hour more than it did all week,” leader Roland Thatcher said.

It won’t get any better today. Winds of up to 25 miles an hour are expected in the afternoon, which will affect the top players.

MCCARRON INJURED

Reno’s Scott McCarron injured his left ankle on the front nine Saturday, and had his ankle taped before playing his final nine holes.

McCarron shot a 3-over-par 39 on the front side, but bounced back nicely with four birdies on the back side en route to a third-round 71 and a 54-hole total of 207. He’s currently tied for sixth place.

A LOOK BACK AT ROUND 2

More than 60 players finished their second rounds on Saturday. Joe Ogilvie, who did finish on Friday, had an 8-under-par 64, and veteran Corey Pavin, who had to play 13 holes in the morning, finished with a 7-under-par 65 and was the leader after two full rounds.

A total of 78 players shot 72 or lower in the second round, and 65 of those were under par. A total of 38 players shot lower than 70. Forty-seven players had over-par rounds, and two players shot more than 80.

Six players – Michael Allen, Carl Pettersson, Steve Allan, Pavin, Thatcher and Craig Barlow played bogey free golf in the second round.

Pettersson, who was 8-under after two rounds, had 13 one-putt greens en route to a 67. Jay Don Blake, who shot 69, also had 13 one-putt greens.

The longest drive of the day belonged to Phil Tataurangi, who blasted a 381-yarder on the 367-yard par-4 fifth hole.

FACTS AND FIGURES

The toughest hole on Saturday was the par-3 12th which played to a 3.403, yielding only two birdies and 27 bogeys. The second-toughest hole was the par-4 8th which played to a 4.389, yielding five birdies and 13 bogeys.

The easiest hole was the par-5 11th, which yielded an eagle to Steve Allan, 21 birdies and only seven bogeys while playing to a 4.778. The second-easiest hole was the par-5 17th, which played to a 4.819 after yielding an eagle to Hunter Mahan, 18 birdies and only 10 bogeys.

The scoring average for the field is 73.458, which is nearly 1 1/2 strokes over par.

Dean Wilson has made a huge jump the last two rounds. He went from tied for 86th after the first day to being tied for 12th after the third round.

Darrell Moody can be reached at moody@nevadaappeal.com, or by calling (775) 881-1281.