5 Things: Haas carries new load at Memorial
DUBLIN, Ohio Bill Haas signed for the best score of the day, a 67, although it's not yet known if it's the best score of the second round of the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio.
Haas rolled off his 5-under score in the morning, as had first-round leader Charl Schwartzel during Thursday's first round. Haas leads by three over Schwartzel, Matt Kuchar, Kyle Stanley and Bubba Watson with some of the round still to be completed Saturday morning.
Here are 5 Things to Know about Friday's play during the second round of the Memorial Tournament:
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1. FORMER CADDIE LEADS MEMORIAL: Bill Haas was introduced to Muirfield Village when he caddied for his dad, veteran Jay Haas either as a senior in high school or as a undergraduate at Wake Forest. He was not sure, but the timing doesn't matter.
Now Haas comes to Memorial a new father and clearly in a very good frame of mind. With a 68-67 in his first two rounds, the Wake Forest product took a three-shot lead into Saturday's play.
With no real success at Muirfield Village, seven appearances and a best finish of T-30 in 2008, Haas was not considered much of a threat (Las Vegas installed him at a 60:1 long shot).
"I've missed my last two cuts before this week, so certainly my expectations were a little lower than they were earlier this year," Haas said. "But I had a great two weeks off; I had a son. I've been having great fun with that at home with my wife. And I think I'm just in a better frame of mind than I was three weeks ago after missing my second cut in a row."
Haas is fine coming in under the radar and letting his clubs do the talking – which they have done in the first two rounds with an eagle, 11 birdies and just four bogeys amid very challenging wind conditions.
"With that kind of wind and that fast of greens, it's very difficult to make putts," Haas said. "I've just been fortunate to see a few go in."
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2. VAN PELT'S PUTTS, TWEAKS: Bo Van Pelt has struggled in 2013.
With only one top 10 at the Wells Fargo Championship earlier this month, Van Pelt is ranked No. 71 in FedEx Cup points and has his work cut out to make it back to the Tour Championship in Atlanta, a tournament he has qualified for the last three consecutive years.
With a second round three-under, 69 and a 2-under total for 36-holes, Van Pelt is seven shots off the lead of Bill Haas, but has two rounds to rectify the situation.
"The round was better today," Van Pelt said of a round that included an eagle and four birdies. "I hit it good, hit it great yesterday, just finally made a couple putts there on the back nine. I think I had 33 or 34 putts yesterday, so I didn't score very well. That's kind of been my year, really."
Van Pelt made three putts longer than 10 feet Friday, compared to one Thursday and is ranked first in putts-made distance through two rounds.
Van Pelt's struggles evolved from a combination of poor mechanics and some equipment changes that didn't take.
For whatever reason Van Pelt's left wrist got a little sloppy and his clubface instead of staying square the face was a little open, which ultimately produced a hook or fade, known as a two way miss.
Since Van Pelt tried to take the left part of the golf course out of play a hook was fatal and produced problems and meager results.
"Even when I was hitting greens, they weren't as close as they had been in the past," Van Pelt said. "We're just trying to get back to what we've been doing."
The "we" is longtime coach Mark Wood from Indiana.
Like many players Van Pelt experimented with equipment changes in hopes of finding the problem, but recently switched back to his old RocketBallz driver and his Mizuno MP-69 irons instead of newer equipment.
"It was kind of a bad time to try something new because I wasn't swinging at it that good to begin with," Van Pelt said of the change to cast from forged irons. "So it probably wasn't a fair test, and I think sometimes when you're not swinging that good you're searching for something, and I needed to just fix that first and then we can go from there."
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3. TEATER GAINS TWELVE: Josh Teater is playing in his third Memorial. The first time was a quick two-and-out after a 73-80 in 2010; he then played all four rounds in 2011 with a opening round 67 and then 72-77-72 for a T-45.
So when Teater shot another opener at 5-under 67, it seemed that maybe Teater had Muirfield Village figured out. But think again.
Teater struggled Friday, shooting a 7-over 79. Likely, he'll make the cut at 2 over.
"I threw away a lot of shots on the greens, a few three-putts and around the greens," Teater said of his round of double-bogey and five bogeys. "The wind got me a couple times; this place ate me up."
The 12-shot difference between Thursday and Friday was a bit of a shock to Teater.
"It is hard to believe," Teater said of the differential. "I've shot 7 over and played bad, but I really didn't feel like I played that bad. Maybe pulled a wrong club a couple of times. And made no birdies; that obviously is not a good way to help your score."
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4. GUAN HEADS OUT: The fairy-tale ride of Tianlang Guan came to an abrupt end Friday when he could not navigate the back nine at Muirfield Village, making six bogeys in the morning and shooting 42 en route to a final round 79.
Guan, the 14-year-old Asian amateur champion, made the cut at the Masters and the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, but has missed the cut at the HP Byron Nelson and now the Memorial Tournament.
The next stop for Guan is next week in Memphis and the FedEx St. Jude Classic.
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5. UNFINISHED BUSINESS: The second round of the Memorial Tournament was plagued with weather issues and was stopped once at 2:36, but back playing at 2:58. The next delay came at 4:49, with a restart at 6:16. The day's third delay came at 7:07, with another storm on its way – and 42 players still on the course with a projected cut of 3 over.
The second round will resume at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, with the hopes of getting the third round started at 9:30 off of two tees.
Bad weather is in the forecast for Saturday afternoon and into Sunday morning, but Slugger White, Vice President of Rules and Competition thinks that the event could still end Sunday evening, albeit late.