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Haas secures elusive 15th Champions Tour win



Blaine, MN (Sports Network) - Jay Haas has been waiting nearly two years for his 15th Champions Tour win after winning at least twice in every year from 2005-09.

With a closing birdie on Sunday at TPC Twin Cities, he finally got it.

Haas shot a four-under 68 on Sunday to finish at 15-under 201 overall, winning the 3M Championship by a stroke.

It was Haas' first win since the 2009 Senior Players Championship, and he became the 15th player in Champions Tour history to reach the 15-win mark. He had six birdies and two bogeys on Sunday.

"It's awfully special to be the best this week. Nice to finish on top," Haas said. "To end with a birdie and get the trophy, it was a good week."

With a win by the slimmest of margins, Haas can look back to several shots as a reason why he was able to come away with the title. One sticks out however from Friday's first round, the first ace of his senior career at No. 4. He became the first player since Jeff Sluman in 1999 to make an ace and go on to win the event.

Haas was able to edge Kenny Perry (66), Tom Lehman (68) and second-round co- leader Peter Senior (70), all of whom came into the clubhouse at 14-under 202. All three had long eagle putts on the 18th that would have forced a playoff, but each ended with two-putt birdies to finish just short.

Hal Sutton (67) finished fifth at 13-under, while the second round's other co- leader, John Huston, stumbled down the stretch and finished with a one-over 73 on Sunday to finish in eighth at 11-under.

The top of the leaderboard was crowded all day, but Haas emerged from the pack with a birdie at the par-five 12th to move to 13-under.

Perry, who had a couple costly mistakes despite a round that included nine birdies, birdied the 16th to seemingly match Haas, who answered with a birdie on the 14th to maintain his one-shot advantage at minus-14.

Still in search of his first Champions Tour win in his second year on tour, Perry might look at this tournament as one that got away. After bogeys on No. 9 in each of the first two rounds, Perry double-bogeyed the hole on Sunday, and he missed a two-footer for par on the 14th.

What was Perry's loss was Haas' gain, though.

After pars on 16 and 17, Haas entered the par-five 18th likely needing to make birdie to win the tournament. His tee shot landed square in the fairway, just over 200 yards away, where he watched Lehman miss a long eagle putt and move to 14-under with a birdie.

Haas' second shot landed over the water and just inside the fringe, giving him a great two-putt opportunity. Following Senior's missed eagle chance, Haas' eagle putt from 30 feet rolled within a foot, and he gently made the winning putt to secure the title.

"I putted well all week. Backed off my first putt at No. 18 twice. I had some negative thoughts the first time," Haas said. "It wasn't an easy putt. I was absolutely nervous down the stretch. My swing was holding up. I'm nervous all the time. It's great to be nervous because that means you're in the hunt."

Haas had three birdies and two bogeys on an up-and-down front nine, bogeying the fourth before three straight birdies from the fifth. A bogey at No. 9 left him at minus-12 heading to the back nine.

NOTES: Haas had gone winless in his last 41 events...Lehman still leads the Charles Schwab Cup Race after his runner-up finish...Hale Irwin matched his age for the second consecutive week with Sunday's six-under 66. He finished at 11-under...Olin Browne had the lowest round of the day at nine-under 63...The field averaged 70.333 strokes for the three rounds, the exact same average as in 2010. There were also 104 total rounds in the 60s, also the same as last year.

08/07 20:10:35 ET


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