Haas grabs own Hope
LA QUINTA, Calif. - Golf forced patience upon Bill Haas over the last half-decade, and then it rewarded him on the final hole of a marathon week at the Bob Hope Classic.
After playing 140 PGA Tour events without a victory, Haas persevered through six days and five rounds across four courses before going to the final tee yesterday in a three-way tie for the lead. That’s where a slightly impatient shot clinched his first trophy - and put him next to his father in Hope Classic history.
Haas gave himself a short birdie putt on the 18th by executing an aggressive approach shot after his two co-leaders couldn’t do it. With his hands cold and shaking, he made the 1-footer to finish one stroke ahead of Matt Kuchar, Tim Clark, and Bubba Watson 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. “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 (who shot a final-round 63) and Clark (65) had both missed birdie putts, with Kuchar lamenting his inexact approach shot before Clark laid up.
Determined not to come up short, Haas expertly dropped a 3-iron behind the pin, allowing him to two-putt his way to a 30-under 330 finish, the $900,000 winner’s share of the $5 million purse.