No shortage of compelling third-round stories at storied Riviera

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He recovered, won the tournament, and spent the next several months retelling the story to every media member who asked.

Friday night, he received a text message with his Saturday pairing. He would play with Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els. It would be a threesome with eight major titles — Mickelson's four and Els' four.

Beljan, with a great swing and a similar sense of humor, said, "It's a circus out there with Phil. I don't know how he does it, week in and week out."

He said everything Mickelson did brought huge reaction. His own shots, not so much.

"I striped a drive down the middle and had to ask for somebody to clap," he said.

When it was over, he asked Mickelson and Els to sign the bill of his visor. They did. "It's for me," he said.

The Big Threesome's final tally: Els 73, Mickelson 72, guy with signed visor 68.

Haas afire

Bill Haas, 70-67-64—201; 12 under, leader by three.

Friday, he chipped in on No. 18 to save par. Saturday, he went on a mid-round run of four birdies and an eagle in seven holes.

He won the Fed-Ex Cup season-ender in 2011 by making the famous chip out of the water. That was worth $11.44 million. He won last year's Northern Trust in a playoff with Mickelson and Keegan Bradley, dropping in a long-bomb putt on the usually un-puttable No. 10.

His perspective on those two events is interesting, hinting at the value of tradition over dollars.

"This tournament is probably my best win," he said Saturday.

It is not the Haas family's best win, despite an additional long and productive career by Bill's dad, Jay. That best win came in 1968, when Bill's great uncle, Bob Goalby, won the Masters in one of the more controversial golf moments in history. Goalby had tied Roberto De Vicenzo for the lead at the end of 72 holes, but the Argentine signed an incorrect scorecard.

"It's a big deal in our family," Haas said. "I love telling people that my great uncle is a Masters champion."

Goalby is 83 now and lives part time in Palm Springs. He still gets out to watch his great nephew play on occasion, usually at the Humana Challenge in the desert in mid-January, a tournament that both Bill and Jay Haas have won.

Haas said his caddie, Billy Harmon, was kidding him about all the Haas family connections this year at the Humana, as Goalby walked in the gallery with him. Haas' brother had just welcomed a new daughter that week, and Harmon asked, "Do you think you'll be out there, watching her son play golf one day?"

Haas said he laughed, but also got additional perspective on family longevity and achievements in golf.

"It's very neat," he said, "and something I'm very proud of."

bill.dwyre@latimes.com

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