Hass wins first PGA Tour event
Associated Press
Tuesday, January 26, 2010

LA QUINTA, Calif. --- Bill Haas followed his father's advice to be patient through six long days at the Bob Hope Classic until his final hole, when a highly impatient shot clinched his first PGA Tour victory.

Haas made a short birdie putt after an aggressive approach shot on the 18th hole to win the Hope Classic on Monday, beating Matt Kuchar, Tim Clark and Bubba Watson by one stroke with an 8-under 64.

"I'd been wanting to win from the first tournament I played, but it's a process, and there's a lot to it," said Haas, a rookie in 2006. "It's special, but I don't know if it's a monkey off my back. I know how hard it was to win, and I'm grateful."

The 27-year-old son of 1988 Hope Classic champion Jay Haas was the last of three co-leaders to play the par-5 18th. Kuchar and South Africa's Clark had both missed birdie putts at the Arnold Palmer Private course, with Kuchar lamenting the execution of his approach shot before Clark laid up.

Haas expertly dropped his 3-iron behind the pin, allowing him to two-putt his way to a 30-under 330 finish and his long-anticipated first victory.

Watson, a fourth-round co-leader, birdied the 18th to grab a share of second place.

After grinding through five rounds on four courses in the rain-delayed tournament, Haas couldn't celebrate until he made it through the last hole with his hands shaking and fingers going numb -- and at that point, he didn't even know his father had made it back from the Champions Tour event in Hawaii to watch him.

"It was the most nervous I've ever been," Haas said.

Haas credited his steady play to a tip he received while practicing with his father in nearby Indian Wells last weekend when Bill Haas missed the cut at the Sony Open. Jay Haas made it back just in time to watch his son's final round, which ended with back-to-back birdies.

"It's definitely neat that down the road, 22 years from now, we can look at both our names on the list here," Bill Haas said. "I'm not trying to compare myself to him. He's almost unreachable."

They're the eighth father-son combination to win on the PGA Tour.

After rain wiped out Thursday's play in the PGA Tour's only five-round, four-course event, the Hope Classic was extended to Monday. The tour's next event is close by at Torrey Pines, making travel easy -- but the top Hope finishers may want to take an extra day to catch their breath after a nail-biting finish.

TAYLOR DOES WELL

Evans resident Vaughn Taylor shot 67 in the final round on the PGA West's Palmer Course to finish tied for 10th. Taylor finished eight strokes back with his 66-67-73-65-67--338 and earned $115,000.

Fomer Louisville, Ga., resident Brian Gay shot a final round 65 to tie for 15th. Gay's 71-65-70-68-65--339 earned him $85,000.

Augusta native Charles Howell's final round 67 earned him a tie for 26th place. Howell finished at 68-69-66-71-67--341.

Swainsboro, Ga, resident Blake Adams missed the cut.

-- From staff reports

From the Tuesday, January 26, 2010 edition of the Augusta Chronicle
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