When Hunter Haas woke up Friday morning, he wasn’t thinking about setting a course record at TPC Summerlin. Instead, he was more in survival mode trying to make the cut at the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
The 34-year-old started his second round at par 71. And with the cut projected at 4 under, his goal was to keep his spot in the field come today. But after going on a birdie binge on his first nine holes Friday, including an eagle at the par-4 15th, Haas made the turn at 6 under and finished with a career-best 10-under 61.
Haas’ amazing round equaled the course record that Davis Love III set in 2001 and Tag Ridings matched in 2004.
“I made 10 more putts,” Haas said of his turnaround from Thursday that put him into contention, two shots out of the lead. “I didn’t come here (Friday) with a number in mind. I’m just thinking about making putts out here. I’ve been working on my putting; I changed my setup a little bit, and I finally got comfortable.”
At one point, Haas was flirting with a sub-60 round as well as the course record. He already was at 10 under and had four holes to play.
But a bogey at the par-4 No. 6 forced him to play catch-up in his pursuit of both. And while he rallied with a birdie at the par-4 No. 7, Haas had just two holes left. He three-putted at the par-5 ninth after looking at a 120-foot eagle putt and then missing an 8-footer for birdie.
“After I birdied the fourth or fifth hole, I knew I had at least three good birdie opportunities coming in, and I screwed up,” Haas said.
Haas, a native of Fort Worth, Texas, who is not related to FedEx Cup champion Bill Haas, doesn’t expect a repeat performance today. But he’s in contention, and his plan is to stay in the mix and give himself a chance to win the $774,000 first prize.
“I’m just going to keep doing what I’ve been doing, and that’s make as many putts as I can,” he said.
■ LUNDE’S BIG EAGLE — Bill Lunde might have put the final touches on a huge payday, as he got the eagle he had been eyeing at the par-5 16th, this week’s designated hole in the $1 million Kodak Challenge.
The former UNLV star had the lead in the winner-take-all competition, a seasonlong best cumulative score over 30 specified holes on the PGA Tour. By making eagle Friday as part of a round of 5-under 66, Lunde increased his Kodak lead to three shots over Cameron Tringale.
“My goal was to get to 19,” said Lunde, who just missed making eagle at No. 16 during Thursday’s first round. “To finally get that eagle is huge for me.”
Lunde said he will play next week’s Fall Series event in San Martin, Calif. He’s not ready to spend the $1 million yet. But he is thinking about it.
“It’s a step closer,” he said.
■ CHAMP SURVIVES — Defending champion Jonathan Byrd appears to have made the cut, but he needed a strong finish Friday to do so. Byrd, 1 under for most of his second round, finished with birdies on four of his final five holes to get to 5 under. Included was a birdie at the par-5 No. 17, the hole that he aced to win in a playoff last year. On Friday, Byrd put his tee shot to within 5 feet and tapped in for birdie.
Contact reporter Steve Carp at email@example.com or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.