Jay Haas and Mark Hensby share lead after 1st spherical at US Senior Open

BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Jay Haas has been taking pictures his age or higher for the previous three years, simply by no means on a stage fairly like Thursday within the US Senior Open.

Haas steadied himself from an up-and-down begin at soggy Saucon Valley and performed a lot youthful than his 68 years down the stretch, posting a 4-under 67 to share the lead with Mark Hensby after the opening spherical.

Haas grew to become the fifth participant in US Senior Open historical past to shoot his age, becoming a member of Tom Watson, Hale Irwin, Harold McSpaden and Jerry Barber, who did it 9 occasions. Barber was the oldest first-time winner of a significant within the 1961 PGA Championship.

“That’s a fairly good rating to interrupt [your age] on a course like this, “mentioned Haas, who had shot his age six earlier occasions on the PGA Tour Champions, however by no means in a significant.

Haas and Hensby had been a shot forward of Steve Stricker, Rocco Mediate, Paul Broadhurst and Tim Petrovic. Even with the rain that pounded Saucon Valley within the morning and left inexperienced receptive even when it relented, solely 11 gamers managed to interrupt par.

The co-leaders benefited from the later begin due to the regular rain all morning that made it tough to maintain golf equipment dry. Paul Goydos had the low rating from the morning wave at 69, prompting the Californian to say, “That is extra rain than we have had in 10 years.”

“Wow, did we ever catch a break at the moment,” Stricker mentioned. “The morning wave, it seemed like their complete wave performed within the rain. … It performed so long as it might play at the moment with the gentle situations and the inexperienced actually not rolling out. It was lengthy, however a troublesome problem.”

Defending champion Jim Furyk, who missed the lower by a shot final week at Brookline within the US Open, opened with a 71. Steve Alker, the main participant on the PGA Tour Champions this 12 months, had a 72 in his US Senior Open debut.

Hensby and Haas have some latest PGA Tour expertise on their facet.

Hensby, whose lone PGA Tour victory was the 2004 John Deere Traditional, tied for seventh within the Puerto Rico Open. Haas performed with son Invoice within the Zurich Traditional workforce occasion they usually made the lower.

Haas would not see that as getting ready for the hardest of the senior occasions. He was simply having enjoyable together with his son and located a psychological increase.

“Taking part in with Invoice, it gave me some confidence, just a little additional confidence,” Haas mentioned. “However on the identical time, I am on the sting of claiming that is sufficient. And if I play too many unhealthy rounds in a row, then I am executed. Perhaps that drives me. I do not need to be executed. So I preserve working at it and preserve making an attempt to shoot good scores. “

Haas discovered specific satisfaction with how properly cleanly he struck his irons late within the spherical, particularly the final three holes, after dropping a pair of photographs early from the tough.

One among his greatest was to the sixteenth and a again proper pin that Haas stuffed to 4 ft to tie Hensby for the lead. He got here up in need of a ridge on the 18th gap and left himself a tough putt at birdie and the lead, although he had few complaints.

Even when he missed, it labored out for him. Haas was in deep, moist grass left of the green on the par-5 twelfth, feared he tugged it just a little and as an alternative the shot caught the slope and funneled right down to about 6 ft for birdie.

Mediate performed bogey-free, which he suspects is the primary time he is executed that in a significant.

Haas first broke his age when he was 65 and shot 64 within the first spherical of the Chubb Traditional in 2019. The latest event was posting a 66 (age 68) three weeks in the past in Iowa on the Principal Charity Traditional.

“He is nonetheless very aggressive,” Stricker mentioned. “He nonetheless performs rather a lot. He is a straight driver of the ball, which you want to be right here, and he scrambles properly nonetheless. That is what you want at a US Open, whether or not it is on the common tour or the Senior Open.”

Has nonetheless has an extended highway to the end line and an opportunity to shatter the file for the oldest US Senior Open champion. Allen Doyle received in 2006 two weeks earlier than his 58th birthday.

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