At Principal Charity Classic, Haas cruises to three-shot victorytext sizeJune 10, 2007
PGA TOUR staff
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Jay Haas is threatening to turn the Champions Tour's points race into a blowout. Haas cruised to his third win of the season, shooting a 2-under 69 Sunday to take the Principal Charity Classic by three strokes.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS JAY HAAS' FINAL STATS Category Total Rank Eagles 0 N/A Birdies 19 1 Pars 29 T66 Bogeys 5 T64 Double Bogeys 1 T19 Other 0 N/A Driving Accuracy 73.8% T27 Driving Distance 294.2 yds. T24 Greens in Regulation 79.6% T6 Putts per Round 28.3 T5 Putts per GIR 1.605 1 Greens in Regulation 79.6% T6 Sand Saves 0.0 T38
Haas, the only player with multiple wins on the Champions Tour this season, finished with a 12-under 201 total. He led wire-to-wire and picked up his ninth career victory on the Champions Tour.
Last year, Haas won the points race on the final day of the season. If he keeps playing as he has been, Haas won't have to sweat it out this time.
Sunday's win extended Haas's strong lead in the points race and on the money list.
''I feel very confident. I feel like if I play well out here, I can win tournaments,'' Haas said.
Haas led by three shots heading into the final round, and started quickly with birdies on the second and fourth holes. That pushed his lead to five strokes over Edwards, who bogeyed No. 3 and quickly fell out of contention for the lead.
Haas' birdie putt on No. 4 epitomized his weekend at the Glen Oaks Country Club, which he was playing for the first time.
Stuck at least 20 feet behind the hole on a severe incline, Haas lightly tapped the ball and sent it racing toward the cup. Had it missed, the ball likely would have rolled off the green. Instead, it slammed into the back edge of the hole, popped in the air, circled the lip and fell in.
Denis Watson, who was playing in Haas' group, let out a chuckle, realizing that the day would belong to Haas.
''I could have had 100 putts and probably not have one go in the hole,'' Haas said. ''For me to hold serve there and make that putt ... it certainly made things a little more comfortable coming down the stretch.''
It wasn't the first time Haas used his putter to stay ahead of the pack. He sank a 20-foot birdie putt on 18 Friday to take the first-round lead, and made a 44-footer on Saturday to highlight a stretch of six birdies in seven holes.
''I putted well the first two days. Even the putts that didn't go in, I hit a lot of good putts,'' Haas said. ''Today, my lag putting was very good.''
Haas walked out to the 10th hole with a six-shot lead and played it safe the rest of the way. He had five straight pars before a birdie on 15 pushed his lead back to five strokes. Haas bogeyed the final two holes.
''It was my tournament to lose, and thankfully I'm not kicking tires right now,'' Haas said.
Eaks stumbled to an opening-round 72 and entered the final round tied for 17th. He hit his stride early, making birdie on four straight par 4s for a 31 on the front nine. He then stuck his tee shots on two par 3s within 12 feet for birdies.
Eaks was one shot from tying the course record, set by John Bland in 2002, before missing a birdie putt on 18. He finished second for the third time this season.
''I knew I had no chance of catching him,'' Eaks said of Haas. ''I was just hoping for a top-five.''
Bryant finished in the top five for the fifth time this season.
Edwards (70) earned by far his best finish in 2007. After winning the 3M Championship in Minnesota in 2006, Edwards had finished in the top 10 just once in 13 events this season.
The most surprising round of the day came from Massy Kuramoto, who tied the course record with an 8-under 63. Kuramoto finished even for the tournament.
Haas improved to 3-2 this season when entering the final round either leading or tied for the lead. He also picked up his ninth Champions Tour win one tournament faster than Hale Irwin, the tour's career leader with 45 wins.
''He's showing us what he's made of,'' said Irwin of Haas. ''He's putting a lot of distance between himself and the rest of the field.''
Haas said this week that he realized during last year's PGA Championships that his days being competitive on the PGA TOUR were likely over. He has committed to the Champions Tour full-time, and so far, he's dominated.
''I'm pleased with the way I'm playing,'' Haas said. ''I thought I'd be competitive when I came out here on this tour. If somebody would have said I was going to win nine times, no, I wouldn't have said that.''
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