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January 28, 2011

What to Watch For: Saturday at Torrey Pines

Haas Big-Time Bill?
Bill Haas won twice in 2010, and he has come out on fire in 2011 with a top-10 finish at Kapalua and a playoff loss at the Bob Hope. Now, Haas is on top of a star-packed leaderboard at Torrey Pines. It will be interesting to see if he can keep it going while fighting off big guns like Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Anthony Kim, Rickie Fowler and Bubba Watson.

Both of Haas's wins, and most of his best finishes, have come in events with weaker fields. This weekend he has a chance to not only prove he has the game to hang with the game's top players, but that he also belongs in the conversation with the other top 20-somethings on Tour. But Haas said no matter what happens, he's comfortable where he's at.

"I don't look 20-something," Haas said. "I can't really pull off that look, so I'm happy with the regular slacks and solid colored shirts and flying under the radar ... Just trying to let my clubs do a little more talking than they've done in the past."

The good news for Haas is the last time he held a 36-hole lead (2010 Viking Classic), he went on to win.

Positive Signs
Tiger Woods got everyone buzzing when he made four straight birdies on the front nine Friday. However, instead of capitalizing on the early momentum, Woods struggled to get out of several bunkers, making bogeys on Nos. 11, 14 and 15.

Woods rallied over the final three holes to keep himself in contention, five shots off the lead. He birdied the par-3 16th, made par from a plugged lie in a bunker on 17 and two-putted for birdie on the par-5 18th.

Woods hopes to carry that momentum into Saturday. On 18, Woods said he hit his two best shots of the day -- a 314-yard drive down the fairway, followed by a 248-yard 5-wood that landed 40 feet from the hole.

"It's nice when I'm able to pull off shots like that, because I know it's in there," Woods said. "It's just a matter of doing it."

Fairways for Phil?
Phil Mickelson is struggling to find the fairways at Torrey Pines, but according to his coach, Butch Harmon, that's not always a bad thing. Speaking Friday morning on Golf Channel's "Morning Drive," Harmon said hitting fairways was one of the most overrated stats on Tour. His prize pupil is proving him right after only hitting eight fairways through two rounds, yet Mickelson finds himself only three shots off the lead.

More from Torrey Pines: Scores | Tee times | Photos | Video

(Photo: Gregory Bull/AP)

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