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Bill Haas knows he's not the favorite at Torrey Pines

That would be Phil Mickelson, who is tied with Haas after three rounds. Tiger Woods falls back with a 74.

January 29, 2011|By Diane Pucin
  • Bill Haas hits out of the sixth green bunker during Round 3 of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines on Saturday. He is tied for the lead with Phil Mickelson going into Sunday's final round.
Bill Haas hits out of the sixth green bunker during Round 3 of the Farmers… (Donald Miralle / Getty Images )

Reporting from La Jolla

Bill Haas is a balding 28-year-old who doesn't choose clothes the colors of misbegotten crayon experiments (see Rickie Fowler, John Daly) or jazz up a gallery with fist pumps or club slamming or any major displays of either joy or disgust (see Tiger Woods).

He is even-tempered and realistic.

He understands that Sunday, when he plays in the final threesome at the Farmers Insurance Open with bearded newlywed Hunter Mahan and local favorite Phil Mickelson, most of the noise won't be in his favor.

"Phil lives here and everybody loves him," Haas said Saturday after shooting a one-under-par 71 at the Torrey Pines South Course. Haas' 12-under total of 204 after three rounds was good enough to tie him with Mickelson, who had a 68 Saturday that included eight pars and a birdie in a consistent back nine.

That was a contrast to the two men who are a shot behind Haas and Mickelson and tied for second.

Mahan and Bubba Watson each eagled the par-five 18th hole to put them a shot ahead of Anthony Kim, who is alone in fifth place at 10 under.

Watson's eagle on 18 came after what he described as a "great" drive of 348 yards down the middle. "Worked out I had a seven-iron, hit it perfect, ended up about 20 feet away. And then hit a great putt and got it to roll in," Watson said.

Mahan's eagle came after a second-shot five-wood of 239 yards. "What can I say," Mahan said. "I got a good bounce." Indeed, the ball bounded to within about five feet of the hole and left Mahan a stress-free eagle putt.

Unlikely to be part of the final-round drama now will be Tiger Woods. Woods was wildly inconsistent and driven to smashing a club to the ground on his way to a two-over-par round of 74 that left him tied for 24th and eight shots out of the lead with a three-day total of 212.

"I did not play well at all today," Woods said of a round that included four bogeys and two birdies and a lot of time spent saving himself from worse trouble.

Woods bogeyed three of the first five holes and by the time he reached the sixth hole he was tied for 29th and six shots behind co-leaders Haas and Watson. About that time some of his large gallery turned to following Mickelson.

And some began rooting for another member of Woods' threesome, Venezuelan Jhonattan Vegas, the rookie who won in his fifth PGA Tour start last week at the Bob Hope Classic in a playoff over Haas and Gary Woodland.

Wearing a burnt orange shirt in honor of Texas, where he played college golf, Vegas shot his third straight 69 and is alone in sixth place at nine under. "Today was an incredible day playing alongside Tiger Woods," said Vegas, who seemed to have a much better time than Woods.

Haas, who had shot 66 Friday, described his Saturday 71 as "OK." He also said he understands himself and his abilities and is content sometimes to watch others use extravagance.

For example, he said, that on Saturday, while in a group behind Mickelson, he watched the crowd-pleaser make a creative stroke. "On 15 Phil seemed to really hit a big carve or something in there to about 10 feet," Haas said. "It was a shot I don't have. Or if I had it I wouldn't try it. I try to hit my seven-iron up there in the middle of the green and go from there."

So far, that approach is working for Haas.

diane.pucin@latimes.com

twitter.com/mepucin

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