Jay Haas opened with a bogey-free 65 at TPC Sugarloaf and will take a one-shot lead into Saturday’s 36-hole finale at the Mitsubishi Electric Classic.
Haas made four birdies in his first six holes to turn in 32, and then closed with gains on Nos. 10, 17 and 18 to finish 7-under 65.
“I hit the ball well, hit a lot of good iron shots. I had, I don’t know, four or five of them inside 10 feet,” said Haas, who has struggled with injuries the past year.
“My distance control was really good. And I made some really nice putts and didn’t really struggle at all with long putting or anything.
“I made a really nice one here at 18, it was a bonus there. Hit a beautiful 5-iron at 17 to about three feet, probably best shot I hit all day.”
Steve Flesch also signed for a clean card which included six birdies, highlighted by two-straight to close on 17 and 18 to grab sole possession of second.
“You know, I hit it well. I hate the cliche, but I hit it well and made putts, and with the wind today it was a little confusing at times,” said Flesch, who hit 17 of 18 greens on Friday.
“I played conservatively where I had to and aggressively on a few holes. Birdied the last two to turn a good day into a great day.”
One further back was Bernhard Langer, who carded a 5-under 67, which included a five-birdie 31 to open.
“Yeah, got off to an awesome start, birdied the first three and then got a couple more on the front nine. Had a birdie putt on 18 to turn in 30 but missed it,” said Langer.
“Made one more on No. 3, so I got to 6 under. Then made a bogey, another birdie, another bogey. But in the end 5 under, I’m pretty happy with it.”
Scott Parel and Gene Sauers were tied at 68, one clear of a seven-player logjam at 69.
With heavy rains forecast for Sunday, the tournament will wrap up tomorrow with 36 holes to crown a winner.
1 Jay Haas -7
2 Steve Flesch -6
3 Bernhard Langer -5
4 Scott Parel -4
4 Gene Sauers -4
6 Wes Short Jr. -3
6 Tommy Armour III -3
6 Tom Byrum -3
6 Tim Petrovic -3
6 Kevin Sutherland -3
6 Jose Maria Olazabal -3
6 Sandy Lyle -3
“Yeah, I knew that before we started off, which it’s not great but if it’s bad weather on Sunday, nobody’s going to come out and watch us anyway. And who knows if we even get to play, they’re talking about an inch or two inches of rain. I don’t know if there’s lightning involved with that. We’ve done that before, we’ve canceled a round maybe about four years ago or something when Olin Browne won. We only got 36 in. The guys were saying we’ve got to play 54, so this gives us that opportunity. It will be a long day.”
– Jay Haas, on playing 36 holes tomorrow to complete the tournament