Bill Haas recaps his day at AT&T National
Bill Haas’ scorecard on Saturday featured three bogeys and a triple bogey.
All that, and the PGA Tour veteran still found his way to the top of the leaderboard at Congressional Country Club, where he’ll start Sunday’s final round of the AT&T National in four-way tie with James Driscoll, Roberto Castro and Andres Romero at 7-under.
“I was telling my caddie, my brother, coming in, I didn’t have it,” Haas said. “I was running out of steam. I don’t know if that was the triple or the three bogeys … It’s tough. Fifteen pars and three birdies would have been more comfortable.”
Indeed, Haas hit his share of ugly shots. But he also carded nine birdies, including four on Nos. 5-9, to finish with a 3-under 68.
After his triple bogey on the treacherous No. 11, Haas saved his round with birdies on three of the next four holes. Yes, it was that kind of day for the 31-year-old, who will be seeking his fifth career victory on Tour.
“I’m excited; I missed three of my last four cuts,” Haas added. “So I’m looking forward to tomorrow and hopefully making nine birdies, or half that, eliminate some of the mistakes and maybe win this thing.”
A wild day in Bethesda began with Jordan Spieth and Roberto Castro tied for the lead at 7-under.
Speith, however, wilted under the pressure after scoring birdies on his first two holes. The 19-year-old, who, like Castro, is pursuing his first Tour win, acknowledged letting his emotions boil over after carding a double bogey on No. 8 – the venerable Blue Course’s easiest hole.
“I knew there was going to be stress involved, and I felt like I handled it well to start the day,” said Spieth, who is tied for eighth at 4-under after shooting a 74. “Making that double on the easiest hole on the course and then following it up with a bogey on a par five …It was very difficult for me at the turn to stay calm and hit good shots to start the back-nine. I maybe lost a couple of shots with my emotions there, which is upsetting.”
Castro, meantime, hit the day’s signature shot on the par-4 No. 18. And it was just enough to propel him back into a share of the lead.
Castro found the water with his approach shot to the left of the green. But he chipped in for par from 80 feet and finished an even-par 71.
“I was very excited,” Castro said. “A bogey would have been a very welcomed. But when I saw it rolling in and hit the hole, I was very excited. The game tested me early, so it was nice to get it back at the end.”
The day ahead
Sunday’s final round has been moved up due to threat of thunderstorms. The first group is set to tee-off at 8:30 a.m. and the leaders will go off at 10:30. Thursday’s round finished under a tornado watch and a pair of downpours halted Friday’s round.
The goal, Tour officials said, is to have the round completed by 3:30 p.m. Forecasts are calling for a 20-percent chance of a morning shower and a 40-percent chance of afternoon thundershowers.
Driscoll, Hass and Castro will tee off in the final group. Romero, fifth-place Jason Kokrak and sixth-place Tom Gillis are set to start 10 minutes earlier.
Kokrak said the earlier start won’t have any affect on his routine.
“I’m going to get up a couple of hours before my tee-time, try to get here an hour and a half before and have breakfast,” he said. “I’m do the same thing I’ve been doing all week. I’ve been hitting the ball really solid.”
Driscoll, though, acknowledged that a morning start gives him a lot less time to think about getting his first career PGA Tour win. Which he says is a good thing.
“Sometimes when get those 1:30 tee times, you have about four hours in the morning to kill,” he said. “That can be a little tricky. It will be nice to get, get breakfast and go. I think that could work to my advantage.”
The 489-yard, par 4 No. 11 continued to be the most difficult hole on the course. Through three rounds, the field has made 43 bogeys and 15 double bogeys or worse there. Conversely, the easiest hole has been No. 8, a 354-yard part 4. The field has scored 37 birdies and 82 pars on the hole. ...D.H. Lee flipped a fan the bird on the 12th hole. It’s unclear what provoked the 26-year-old South Korean to make the gesture, but it was caught by CBS cameras and was later replayed on the broadcast.