BETHLEHEM, Pa. — Jay Haas has been taking footage his age or increased for the earlier three years, merely not at all on a stage pretty like Thursday inside the U.S. Senior Open.
Haas steadied himself from an up-and-down start at soggy Saucon Valley and carried out loads youthful than his 68 years down the stretch, posting a 4-under 67 to share the lead with Mark Hensby after the opening spherical.
Haas grew to turn out to be the fifth participant in U.S. Senior Open historic previous to shoot his age, changing into a member of Tom Watson, Hale Irwin, Harold McSpaden and Jerry Barber, who did it 9 cases. Barber was the oldest first-time winner of a major inside the 1961 PGA Championship.
“That may be a pretty good ranking to interrupt [your age] on a course like this,” talked about Haas, who had shot his age six earlier cases on the PGA Tour Champions, nevertheless not at all in a major.
Haas and Hensby had been a shot ahead of Steve Stricker, Rocco Mediate, Paul Broadhurst and Tim Petrovic. Even with the rain that pounded Saucon Valley inside the morning and left inexperienced receptive even when it relented, solely 11 avid gamers managed to interrupt par.
The co-leaders benefited from the later start as a result of common rain all morning that made it troublesome to take care of golf gear dry. Paul Goydos had the low ranking from the morning wave at 69, prompting the Californian to say, “That’s additional rain than now we have had in 10 years.”
“Wow, did we ever catch a break at the moment,” Stricker talked about. “The morning wave, it appeared like their complete wave carried out inside the rain. … It carried out as long as it’d play at the moment with the comfy circumstances and the inexperienced really not rolling out. It was prolonged, nevertheless a hard downside.”
Defending champion Jim Furyk, who missed the cut back by a shot last week at Brookline inside the U.S. Open, opened with a 71. Steve Alker, the primary participant on the PGA Tour Champions this 12 months, had a 72 in his U.S. Senior Open debut.
Hensby and Haas have some newest PGA Tour experience on their facet.
Hensby, whose lone PGA Tour victory was the 2004 John Deere Fundamental, tied for seventh inside the Puerto Rico Open. Haas carried out with son Bill inside the Zurich Fundamental group event they often made the cut back.
Haas doesn’t see that as getting ready for the toughest of the senior events. He was merely having gratifying alongside along with his son and positioned a psychological improve.
“Collaborating in with Bill, it gave me some confidence, just a bit additional confidence,” Haas talked about. “Nonetheless on the similar time, I’m on the sting of claiming that’s ample. And if I play too many harmful rounds in a row, then I’m accomplished. Maybe that drives me. I don’t want to be accomplished. So I keep working at it and keep attempting to shoot good scores.”
Haas found particular satisfaction with how properly cleanly he struck his irons late inside the spherical, notably the ultimate three holes, after dropping a pair of images early from the robust.
Actually one among his biggest was to the sixteenth and a once more correct pin that Haas stuffed to 4 toes to tie Hensby for the lead. He obtained right here up in want of a ridge on the 18th hole and left himself a hard putt at birdie and the lead, though he had few complaints.
Even when he missed, it labored out for him. Haas was in deep, moist grass left of the golf inexperienced on the par-5 twelfth, feared he tugged it just a bit and as an alternative the shot caught the slope and funneled all the best way right down to about 6 toes for birdie.
Mediate carried out bogey-free, which he suspects is the first time he’s accomplished that in a major.
Haas first broke his age when he was 65 and shot 64 inside the first spherical of the Chubb Fundamental in 2019. The most recent occasion was posting a 66 (age 68) three weeks prior to now in Iowa on the Principal Charity Fundamental.
“He’s nonetheless very aggressive,” Stricker talked about. “He nonetheless performs a lot. He’s a straight driver of the ball, which you wish to be proper right here, and he scrambles properly nonetheless. That’s what you need at a U.S. Open, whether or not or not it’s on the widespread tour or the Senior Open.”
Has nonetheless has a protracted avenue to the tip line and a chance to shatter the doc for the oldest U.S. Senior Open champion. Allen Doyle gained in 2006 two weeks sooner than his 58th birthday.