ST. LOUIS — Jay Haas played mistake-free golf in an opening round 66 on Thursday, which left him tied for the lead at the 74th Senior PGA Championship.
On Friday, a pair of mistakes from the bunker cost him as he finished with a 1-over-par 72.
Tied with Duffy Waldorf for the first-round lead and at 6-under-par for the tournament though six holes Friday, the Belleville native made a double-bogey 5 on the par-3 16th hole and followed with another bogey on 17, as he'll find himself trailing co-leaders Ross Cochran and Kenny Perry by three strokes at the midway point of the Champions Tour major event at Bellerive Country Club.
"The first (bunker) shot shocked me and on the second one I overcompensated, left it in the grass, and couldn't get up and down for par,'' said Haas, who opened his round on the 10th hole. "Aside from those two shots, there wasn't much difference from the first round when I shot 66.
"I thought I hit it good, but I just wasn't quite as sharp with my short game. It's disappointing.''
Winner of the Senior PGA Championship in 2006 and 2008, Haas sits at 4 under through 36 holes and is tied for fourth with Waldorf and Loren Roberts.
Haas rebounded from his two mistakes on the front nine, when he played the front nine later in the afternoon.
Three-under-par at the turn, Haas made a birdie on No. 2 and another birdie on the par-5 fourth hole to get to 5-under. But a bogey on No. 5 was followed by four straight pars to close out his round.
Although he must play well, Haas remains in the thick of the title hunt.
"Two poor shots cost me. I really feel like I played well enough to shoot 68 or 69,'' Haas said. "Russ (Cochran) and Kenny (Perry) are both great players, but three strokes behind with 36 holes left, I don't think I'm out of it by any means.
"It will take two good rounds in the 60s to have a chance.''
Internationals faring well
The 74th Senior PGA Championship definitely has an international flavor to it with players from five nations separated by just five shots.
Among the non-Americans close to the top of the leaderboard are: Japan's Kiyoshi Murota (-5) and Kohki Idoki (-2), Taiwan's Chien-Soon Lu (-2), Canada's Rod Spittle (-2) and Peter Senior (-3) from Australia.
There also is a club pro in the mix, as Seattle native Jeff Costen is also at 2 under.
The final two rounds of the Senior PGA Championship will be broadcast on KSDK-NBC Channel 5 on Saturday and Sunday from 2-5 p.m.