Late birdies give Bill Haas first PGA Tour win|
La Quinta, CA (Sports Network) - Bill Haas hit a gutsy three-iron into the
18th green Monday and two-putted for a birdie to win the Bob Hope Classic,
capturing his first PGA Tour title in 141 career starts.
Haas fired an eight-under 64 in the final round to beat Matt Kuchar, Tim Clark
and Bubba Watson by one shot at 30-under 330.
He wasn't the first Haas to win the Hope.
His father, nine-time PGA Tour winner Jay Haas, also captured the tournament
in 1988. They became the eighth father-son duo to win on the PGA Tour.
"I know how hard it is to win out here," Jay Haas said in a TV interview
afterward. "You have to play hard and get a little lucky and I think Bill was
[lucky] at the end."
If not lucky, then a little fortunate.
Kuchar (63) and Clark (65) both wasted birdie chances at the 540-yard 18th, a
reachable par five that provided a perfect stage for the end of a tight round
on the Palmer Course at PGA West.
The long-hitting Watson (66) made his birdie at the 18th to tie them for
second place at 29-under 331.
Kuchar went for the green from 207 yards and just missed on the right side
with a hybrid club, which he picked over his four-iron. He putted from around
30 yards but only lagged it to 13 feet, where he two-putted for a closing par
to become the clubhouse leader.
Clark, one of the shortest hitters on tour, laid up to 85 yards and then
knocked his approach to eight feet. But he also missed his birdie try to join
Kuchar in the clubhouse at 29-under.
Bill Haas -- who played in the final group with fourth-round co-leaders Watson
and Alex Prugh -- didn't think much about what to do at the 18th hole. With
two players already in the clubhouse at 29-under, he knew he needed a birdie
"Tough to lay up there," he said.
And so the younger Haas pulled a three-iron from his bag and stared down a
205-yard shot from the fairway. It was one extra club than he needed -- an
insurance policy for the pond in front of the green.
"I mis-hit it a little bit," he said, "but it worked out."
Haas' shot landed 27 feet away, leaving him two putts for the win. He lagged
the first to about a foot, leaving himself a tap-in for the victory.
Jay Haas followed his son around the course in secret, having arrived
unannounced to watch him play for his first win. From his position in the
gallery, the elder Haas was unable to see the distance on his son's birdie
putt at the 18th. He knew from his son's body language that it couldn't have
been more than a tap-in.
"I was very emotional," Jay Haas said.
"Now that he has tasted winning," the elder Haas said of his 27-year-old son,
"I think that he'll do it again and again."
Bill Haas had eight birdies in a flawless final round, including a seven-foot
putt on the 17th hole that moved him into a share of the lead with Kuchar and
Clark. He only made four bogeys in 90 holes, and none in the final two rounds.
His first place check was $900,000 -- $720,000 more than his father earned 22
years ago for winning the same tournament.
"I was so nervous," Bill Haas said. "It was all kind of a blur."
Kuchar said he was "kicking" himself after not making a birdie at the 18th
hole. With two career victories, including one last year, Kuchar was the only
challenger at the end with winning experience.
"Sixty-three is a heck of a round," he said. "I played some great golf today."
Clark, the well-respected South African with a controlled game, has now played
197 PGA Tour events and collected more than $14 million without winning.
"I just never felt great with the putter," he said. "I just never stood over
one thinking 'I'm going to make it.' So it's tough to play like that all day."
Watson ran his career winless streak to 110 starts. He said the Monday
afternoon drama that excited everyone else was no fun for the players
"It wasn't fun for us. Even Bill, we were nervous. We talked about it," Watson
He added: "These guys are good. It's tough to win out here."
NOTES: Haas played his last 54 holes with only one bogey...The other father-
son winners in PGA Tour history are: Tom Morris Sr. and Tom Morris Jr., Willie
Park and Willie Park Jr., Joe Kirkwood Sr. and Joe Kirkwood Jr., Jack Burke
Sr. and Jack Burke Jr., Clayton and Vance Heafner, Julius and Guy Boros, and
Al and Brent Geiberger...Prugh (67) took fifth place at 28-under 332 and Mike
Weir (66) finished sixth at 334...The only 90-hole tournament on the PGA Tour
required a Monday finish after Thursday was washed out by rain.
01/25 19:27:29 ET