Bill Haas wins Hope Classic for 1st PGA victory

Bill Haas made a short birdie putt on the 18th hole to earn his first PGA Tour victory at the Bob Hope Classic on Monday.

By (AP)

Published: Tue 26 Jan 2010, 11:14 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 5:11 AM

He defeated Matt Kuchar, Tim Clark and Bubba Watson by one stroke with an 8-under 64.

Haas was the last of three co-leaders to play the 18th, and an outstanding approach shot allowed him to two-putt his way to a 30-under 330 finish.

“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.”

Kuchar and South Africa’s Clark both had birdie chances on the par-5 18th at the Arnold Palmer Private course, but both missed their putts. Fourth-round co-leader Watson birdied the 18th to grab a share of second place.

After grinding through five rounds on four courses over six days in the rain-delayed tournament, Haas couldn’t celebrate until his final shot. He’s the 27-year-old son of Jay Haas, the 1988 Hope Classic champion.

After father and son practiced together in nearby Indian Wells last weekend when Bill Haas missed the cut at the Sony Open, Jay Haas traveled back from his own Champions Tour event in Hawaii just in time to watch his son finish the final round 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, but Bill Haas spent most of the day trailing Kuchar, who came from three shots back and rocketed up the tight leaderboard. He had eight birdies in his first 11 holes, but just one in the last seven.

After rain wiped out Thursday’s play and threatened throughout Friday 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.

Rookie Alex Prugh, who shared the lead with Watson entering the final round, started slowly but closed with three straight birdies to finish fifth at 28 under in his third career PGA Tour event. Veteran Mike Weir was sixth at 26 under.

Kuchar’s fast start also didn’t shake Clark, who has never won on the PGA Tour. He has a runner-up finish for the sixth straight year, including his 2006 finish at the Masters.

Kuchar went ahead with six birdies on the front nine at the Palmer course, surging past Watson and Prugh early in the round. Haas stayed close to Kuchar’s blistering pace with five birdies on the first eight holes, and Clark caught up on the 15th hole with a 6½-foot birdie putt.

After five straight pars, Kuchar made a near-perfect tee shot on the 130-yard 17th before calmly making a 16-foot birdie putt. Clark wouldn’t be shaken, answering with a birdie putt of his own in the next group — and after Watson missed his birdie putt, Haas nailed his own.

“As I was making my way through the back nine, I thought 30 under would have been a good score,” Kuchar said. “And there it was. It was the winning score.”

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