Haas On Track To Defend Legends Title

Saturday, April 21st 2007, 3:47 pm

By: News On 6

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) _ Defending champion Jay Haas shot a 3-under-par 69 Saturday, giving him a one-stroke lead over Brad Bryant, Wayne Levi and Mark James entering the final round of the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf.

Haas, seeking his second victory of the season, was at 7-under 137 after three rounds at The Club at Savannah Harbor. Bryant, who also shot 69, said the 7,087-yard island layout perfectly suits Haas.

``Well, I'd be saying the same thing about Brad if I was one behind him,'' Haas said with a laugh. ``This is not his first rodeo, by any means.''

Haas, with nine wins on the PGA Tour and seven on the Champions Tour, has never successfully defended a championship.

``It's there for me if I shoot a good score,'' Haas said. ``I've got to be sharper, though. There are too many good players right behind me.''

Bryant four birdies on the front nine and led by a stroke when he made the turn. But the wind came up and he struggled on the back nine, sandwiching two bogeys around one birdie.

``I just didn't hit the ball quite as well on the back as I did on the front,'' Bryant said.

He said the wind could be a major factor during the final round.

``If the wind stays down, somebody could shoot 64 or 65 fairly easily,'' Bryant said. ``This golf course is in such great shape, and the greens are really good.''

Levi, who was three shots back to start the day, eagled No. 11, a 530-yard par-5 during his round of 68. James, the first-round leader, scrambled to a 71. Loren Roberts (68) and Tom Kite (71) were tied at 139.

Hale Irwin, the 2004 winner, eagled the first hole. But he bogeyed No. 2, setting the stage for an uneven round of 70 that left him tied with Tom Purtzer (72) at 140.

Divots: Tom Watson and Andy North teamed to win the Raphael Division, a two-day, best-ball event at 18-under 126. They beat Gary Koch and Roger Maltbie by one stroke. The Legends, which spawned the senior circuit 32 years ago, had been played as a team event in until moving to Savannah in 2003. Only money earned in the individual competition is considered official now.

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