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Bill Haas leads at Torrey Pines, with Tiger Woods not too fine in the sand

Haas has a two-shot edge over Anthony Kim, while Woods sits five back after struggling in the bunkers.

January 29, 2011|By Diane Pucin
  • Bill Haas hits out of a bunker on the eighth hole during the second round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines South Course on Friday.
Bill Haas hits out of a bunker on the eighth hole during the second round of… (Stephen Dunn / Getty Images )

Reporting from La Jolla — Tiger Woods couldn't get out of the bunker in one shot.

Twice.

Yet Woods still has a chance to win the Farmers Insurance Open.

Bill Haas, who almost won his second consecutive Bob Hope Classic last week before losing in a playoff, is the halfway-point leader, standing at 11-under-par 133 after his second-round 66 on the Torrey Pines South Course on Friday.

Haas has a two-shot lead over Anthony Kim and a three-shot lead over a group of seven that includes Phil Mickelson, Murrieta's Rickie Fowler, defending champion Ben Crane and John Daly, who a year ago here after the second round suggested he might quit golf. Daly didn't and on Friday was an easy-to-find favorite in his vigorously green-patterned pants and shoes.

Woods scrambled home with birdies on the 16th and 18th holes of the South Course and stands five shots behind Haas at six-under 138. Woods is tied for 12th after his second consecutive 69.

His round Friday was alternately invigorating and looking like a weekend hacker's. Woods ran off a streak of four consecutive birdies early on and climbed within three shots of the lead while the noisy roar of his gallery seemed to catch the attention of some whales in the nearby Pacific Ocean.

But he bogeyed two holes (the 11th and 14th) after twice needing two shots to get out of greenside bunkers.

"At 11 I was trying to get too cute," Woods said. "A good shot would have gone 10 feet [past the hole]. I tried to take a chance and it didn't work.

"At 14 I was on the downslope, trying to play out to the right, trying to leave myself a 30- or 40-footer and just fatted it."

As badly as Woods played those two holes, he responded with a totally Tiger finish. On the par-three 16th hole, Woods whacked a five-iron to within 12 feet and his birdie putt was hit without a doubt.

On the finishing 18th hole, with the gallery three-deep, Woods was aggressive and hit a five-wood second shot that carried over water and landed on the green, allowing him a stress-free two-putt finishing birdie.

"It's a round that could have easily slipped away," Woods said. "But I got it back at 16 and 18."

Haas also had a stretch of four consecutive birdies yet came in as a little-noticed leader.

Daly, who won this tournament in 2004, missed the cut the last three times here, including last year when he told a cameraman filming for Daly's own Golf Channel reality show that he was done with the game. It turns out Daly meant only for that moment. Even with a double-bogey six on the North Course fourth hole (Daly's 13th hole of the day), he is only three shots out of the lead.

"With me you don't know what to expect," he said. "I just like the way I'm hitting the golf ball and I love the way I'm stroking it."

And a year ago, Daly said, he couldn't have imagined himself being in contention for this title again.

"It's night and day," he said. "And if something great happens, it happens. If it doesn't, it's no big deal. I'm building something now."

Mickelson also left the course feeling positive after he birdied his last two holes.

"It's a good way to finish the round," he said. "I had a bunch of opportunities where the putts looked like they might go in and just caught the lip or slid out. To make those last two felt good. I'm looking forward to the weekend."

diane.pucin@latimes.com

twitter.com/mepucin

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