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Young Haas shows veteran touch with 65

POTOMAC — POTOMAC -- Bill Haas is enjoying his first tournament as a professional, as well he should be. Haas, 22, recorded seven birdies yesterday on the way to a 65 and a two-round total of 134. He stands six shots back of leader and fellow youngster Adam Scott in the Booz Allen Classic.

Haas, son of PGA Tour pro Jay Haas, may be new on the scene, but he's not playing tentatively. Considering that five of this tournament's champions since 1993 hadn't won a PGA Tour event before the event, Haas' bold approach may not be misplaced.

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With a payoff of $864,000 for first place, winning here would put Haas in the top 100 on the year's money list and on the right path toward his goal of claiming an unlimited number of sponsor exemptions for next year's tour.

To do that, he needs to finish the year in the top 150. The pressure's on, but he said his game plan won't change.

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"I think you [always] have to have an aggressive mind-set," he said. "I need to grind every shot and every hole. It will be tough."

Lehman in hunt

Former British Open winner Tom Lehman is five strokes off the lead after shooting a 4-under-par 67 yesterday. Lehman is staying optimistic despite the play of youngsters Scott, who shot 62 yesterday, and Charles Howell III, who had a 61 in the opening round, saying there's "a low round out there for everyone."

Lehman showed some quality shots of his own yesterday, putting himself in position to tap in five birdies. He and his group particularly enjoyed his birdie on No. 4 that was nearly an eagle.

"It was one of those shots you hit and the minute you hit it you're like, 'That's perfect! Go in, go in,' " Lehman said, grinning. The ball "just singed the back of the hole -- just in back of it."

After bogeying No. 8, a hole that gave several players trouble yesterday, Lehman bounced back with a birdie on No. 11 to regain his momentum -- he also had birdies on Nos. 13 and 14.

Cold at home

After finishing sixth in last week's U.S. Open, former Maryland coach Fred Funk was looking forward to coming home for a tournament he considers one of his unofficial majors and one in which he finished tied for second last year.

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It turned out to be a short stay, as Funk missed the cut.

"I don't have much comment. There's nothing to be said," he said after shooting 77 yesterday for a two-round score of 5-over-par 146. "I just played [terribly]. I just didn't score as good as I could [Thursday]. I hit the ball great. Today, I played horrible on ... my back nine."

It marked the third time in the past five years and the sixth time in the past 10 that Funk hasn't advanced to the weekend at Avenel.


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