Haas edges Watson for Senior Players titleJay Haas celebrates after winning the 2009 Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship.October 04, 2009
PGA TOUR staff
TIMONIUM, Md. (AP) -- Jay Haas charged past Tom Watson to win the Senior Players Championship by a stroke, birdieing the 18th hole Sunday to match the course record with a 6-under 64 in the final Champions Tour major of the season.
The 60-year-old Watson was tying to become the oldest major winner on the 50-and-over Tour. But after making only one bogey in the first three rounds at Baltimore Country Club, he had three in the final round en route to a 70.
Haas finished at 13-under 267 for his third senior major title. He has 14 career Champions Tour victories, also winning the Greater Hickory Classic two weeks ago.
Haas took advantage of a well-placed 6-iron from 185 yards on his second shot on the par-4 18th hole. His shot dropped on the right side of the green, then rolled within 3 feet of the cup for an easy birdie.
Watson missed the fairway on 18, ending any hopes he could catch Haas. Mark Wiebe (71) and Loren Roberts (71) tied for third at 7 under, and Bernhard Langer (68) and John Cook (72) followed at 6 under.
Watson pulled ahead by a stroke with a masterful, downhill birdie putt on No. 15. With 30 feet to the hole, he sent a slow roller that briefly broke right before curling left and dropping in to put him at 12 under. But Haas birdied 17, converting a 12-foot putt for his 20th birdie of the tournament, to force a tie atop the leaderboard.
With a gusty breeze making putting on the difficult, sloping greens at the Five Farms East course even more challenging, Watson wasn't able to replicate the 64 he shot Saturday to move into the lead after three rounds.
Watson began the day at 12 under with a four-stroke lead over Roberts, Cook and Wiebe. The leader bogeyed the first hole, and Haas climbed within two strokes with birdies on Nos. 3 and 4, before Watson birdied the fifth hole to lead by three strokes.
But Watson closed the front nine by bogeying Nos. 7 and 9 and Haas' birdie on the 10th hole pulled him within a stroke at 10 under.
Haas missed opportunities to pull into a share of the lead, pushing a 6-foot birdie putt on No. 12 past the cup and failing to covert a long putt on No. 13. But he knocked in a 5-footer for a birdie on No. 14 to pull even with Watson.