Haas takes early at Schwab Cup
SCOTTSDALE, Arizona (AP)
Jay Haas matched the Champions Tour record with a 10-under 60 to take a five-stroke lead on Friday in the Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
The 58-year-old Haas made a 5-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th after hitting his second shot into a greenside bunker and leaving his eagle blast short. He is 14-under 126 for the tournament.
Haas became the eighth player in the history of the 50-and-over tour to shoot 60, breaking the course record on Desert Mountain's Cochise layout.
Tom Lehman was second after a 63, moving into position to win the season-long Charles Schwab Cup points race. Bernhard Langer, 211 points ahead of second-place Lehman, was tied for fifth at 6 under after a 65.
Haas' playing partner Fred Couples was third at 8 under after a 66.
''It was just a very magical day for me,'' Haas said. ''I had a great pairing. I love playing with Freddie. ... It was a wonderful day. One of those that you don't want to end.''
''I can't remember another time that I've had a chance to shoot a 59. I was thinking about it without question. I hit a decent bunker shot. It stopped a little quicker for me than I thought.''
He closed with a 7-under 28 on the back nine to finish a stroke off the tour's nine-hole record.
''Wow! What a round he had,'' Couples said about Haas. ''I had a good time, 4-under par. I'm not going to complain, but when a guy is shooting 10 under it seems like you're shooting 80.''
Haas, a nine-time PGA Tour winner, won the Principal Charity Classic in Iowa in June for his 16th victory on the senior tour.
''The course is magnificent,'' Haas said. ''The fairways are like carpets. The greens are perfect. So, if you hit a poor shot, it's my fault.''
Couples is playing for the first time since a back injury forced him to withdraw during the first round of the Boeing Classic in late August. Before this week, he hadn't completed a competitive round since winning the Senior British Open in July for his second victory of the year.
Lehman's 63 was his lowest round on the Champions Tour. Langer and Lehman would win the season title with a victory, while third-place Roger Chapman needs a victory and some help to top the standings.
Jay Don Blake, the defending champion and first-round leader, followed his opening 64 with a 71 to drop into a tie for eighth at 5 under. Blake won last year at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.