Bill Haas, who has strong ties to Quail Hollow Club, shot a 70 May 5 to go with an opening-round 64 and held the lead at the midpoint of the second round of the Wells Fargo Championhship.
Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Thomas Wolfe might argue, but you can go home again.
Just ask Bill Haas.
Haas, the fifth-year Tour pro with two wins to his credit, was born in Charlotte 29 years ago this month, and this week, he’s making the most of a PGA Tour-sanctioned homecoming.
In Friday’s second round of the Wells Fargo Championship, played at Quail Hollow Club, Haas backed up a first-round leading 64 with a 2-under-par 70 to hold onto his spot atop the leaderboard midway through the day’s play.
His 10-under 134 total left him one shot ahead of Phil Mickelson, runner-up here one year ago.
Though Haas and his family – he is the son of former PGA Tour and current Champions Tour star Jay Haas – moved to Greenville, S.C., when Bill was little more than an infant, his ties to Charlotte and specifically Quail Hollow remained strong, since his dad was and is a member of the club. The connection makes this week a special one for the younger Haas.
“Yeah, I’ve said this would probably be, outside of the majors, this would be my No. 1 tournament to win, just because of the people involved with the tournament,” said Haas, who won both the Bob Hope and Viking Classics last year. “When I walk in the clubhouse, everybody I see, I know. It’s just the feelings I would have on Sunday night hanging around with all those guys would probably be unlike any other tournament.
“I don’t think that adds any extra pressure because … there’s the pressure of winning any tournament that will be on me on the weekend. But to put myself in that situation where I even have that chance to even talk about it is nice.”
After a bogey-free round that included eight birdies on Thursday, Haas extended his flawless streak to 34 holes before dropping a shot at the lakefront, par-3 17th Friday. By then, he had added birdies at 5, 14 and 15, the last two coming immediately following a rain delay that halted play for nearly an hour and a half just before 11 a.m.
Despite his affinity for Quail Hollow, Haas hasn’t put up enviable numbers here before this week, aside from a tie for fourth in 2006. In six other previous appearances, two T-22 showings are his best to go along with a T-29 and two missed cuts. Still, he can’t wait to come back each year.
“I don’t know (what it is),” he said. “I think this is one tournament I always look forward to. A month out, I’m like, I can’t wait to get to that tournament. It just has a good feel about it.
“I’ve got a lot of good friends here, a lot of Deacon fans here, which I’m hearing ‘Go Deacs’ out there a lot, which is nice.”
Haas knows that, with the scoreboard shaping up the way it was midday on Friday, there is a chance he could be hearing something else, should he be paired with Mickelson on Saturday. As he said, he may be a local favorite, but Mickelson is a favorite of crowds everywhere. So there could be a lot of “Go Phil” yells coming from the gallery.
“Luckily, his name is very similar to my name,” Haas said with a wide grin. “So whenever somebody says ‘let’s go Phil,’ – I’ve told him that, I’ve jokingly said, I just pretend they’re saying ‘Let’s go, Bill.’”
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