Six months into a sophomore PGA Tour season that sees him just better than breaking even for cuts made, Alameda’s James Hahn is riding a wave of improved play, stretching his streak of cuts made to four straight this week at the RBC Heritage in Hilton Head. Hahn rode a bogey-free 2-under 69 in Saturday’s third round to an 18-spot improvement in the standings, and is T50 at 2-over going into Sunday’s final round.
Hahn’s current string of four made cuts, at the Valspar championship, the Valero Texas Open, the Shell Houston Open, and now at the RBC Heritage, is his longest streak since the beginning of last year when, in first season as PGA Tour member, he played through to the weekend in his first six tournaments. That 6-tournament stretch is also where he posted his three best finishes of his rookie season.
The 2003 Berkeley graduate batted .500 in his inaugural season on the PGA Tour last year, making 13 of 26 cuts. Strong play early in the season netted him a T4 finish at the Humana Challenge, and a T3 finish at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, which he co-led with eventual winner Brandt Snedeker after 54 holes. Finishes of T16 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, where he blistered the course in the final round with a 10-under 62, and, later in the season, a T23 at the Reno-Tahoe Open, were his only other Top 25 performances of last year.
The tournament’s 54-hole leader, Englishman Luke Donald, surged to the top of the leaderboard on Saturday with a 5-under 66, in spite of having carded three bogeys on the front nine. An eagle at the par-5 second, and birdies at holes 5 and 8 saw the 2001 Northwestern University graduate out of the front nine with a 1-under 35, but keen iron play and a hot putter – he took only 13 putts on the back side – netted him a 4-under 31 on the homeward nine. Donald’s 8-under 54-hole total is two strokes ahead of John Huh, with South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel, Floridian Nicholas Thompson, 2010 RBC Heritage champion Jim Furyk, and Ben Martin of South Carolina, one back of Huh at 5-under.
Among other players with Northern California ties, Sacramento’s Spencer Levin moved up 15 spots today with a 1-under 70 to sit at T-53, 3-over going into the final round, and Stockton native Ricky Barnes is T-62 at 4-over. Fresno native Kevin Chappell shot 75 – 72 to miss the cut by one.