Haas shot his best round of the year, a 7-under-par 64 to earn the first-round lead in the Greater Milwaukee Open.
Haas leads D.A. Weibring, Marco Dawson and Brent Geiberger by a shot.
I had a good feeling about today, Haas said. It was pretty magical today.
Two decades ago, Haas collected his second of nine career PGA Tour victories at Tuckaway Country Club in Franklin, Wis. Now, hes trying to repeat the feat at Brown Deer Park Golf Course in Milwaukee.
Starting at the par-4 1st, the 47-year-old birdied five of his first eight holes.
He dropped a shot at the par-3 11th, when he failed to get up and down from the greenside bunker. Haas lost another stroke to par at the par-5 15th; however, he made lengthy birdie putts at the 14th, 16th, 17th and 18th holes to move to the top of the leaderboard.
I putted extremely well. I missed a couple that I couldve made, but I made four or five where its one out of 20 (to make), said Haas, who needed only 23 putts on Thursday.
Haas is in search of his first PGA Tour title since winning the 1993 Texas Open. This year, hes only missed three cuts in 12 starts, but has yet to record a top-10 finish.
Ive been playing well for several weeks, he said. Im doing a lot of good things and have been anxious to play.
Obviously, Im not going to get as many opportunities to win as I did in my 20s or 30s ' but my ball-striking is as good. I certainly feel like Im capable of keeping pace, maybe not every week.
Not surprisingly, Scott Hoch is in contention. The 1997 GMO champion shot a 4-under-par 67. Hoch is fresh off his second victory of the season at the Advil Western Open.
Defending champion Loren Roberts is 10 shots off the pace following a 3-over-par 74.
Ive played poorly, in stark contrast to last year when I played beautifully, Roberts said. I havent played good at all. Theres a problem and I cant find it.
Skip Kendall had an even tougher round on Thursday. His father, Ralph, died Wednesday night at the age of 77 due to complications from a stroke.
Kendall fulfilled his fathers deathbed wish by playing in this weeks event. Acknowledging condolences on every hole, he shot a 2-over-par 73 on what he called the hardest day of his life.
It was pretty difficult, Kendall said. This tournament was really special to him. I know hes looking down and smiling.
Kendall grew up playing Brown Deer, one of only three municipal golf courses on the PGA Tour. He was called off the course Wednesday during the pro-am and informed that his father had died in Sun City West, Ariz.
News, Notes and Numbers
*Nick Gilliam, the NCAA champion from the University of Florida and a Green Bay native, shot a 70 in his professional debut.
Full-field scores from the Greater Milwaukee Open