62-year-old Jay Haas wins play­off in New­port Beach

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Jay Haas got the open­ing he needed Sun­day to be­come the se­cond-old­est win­ner in PGA Tour Cham­pi­ons his­tory.

Haas - at 62 years, 10 months, 7 days - took ad­van­tage of Bart Bryant’s clos­ing bo­gey to get into a play­off and won the Toshiba Clas­sic with a birdie on the first ex­tra hole.

“It’s been a while since I’ve been in that po­si­tion to win, and to pull it off today was aw­fully spe­cial,” Haas said.

Haas trails only Mike Fetchick, the 1985 Hil­ton Head Se­niors In­vi­ta­tional win­ner at 63 years to the day, on the age list.

“Just to win, to know that I can do it again at 62 is pretty amaz­ing,” said Haas, also the 2007 win­ner at New­port Beach Coun­try Club.

Af­ter open­ing with bo­gey-free rounds of 64 and 63 to take a five­stroke lead into the day, Haas found him­self a stroke be­hind Bryant - two groups ahead play­ing the reach­able 18th - and fac­ing a 7-foot par putt on the par-3 17th.

“I’m think­ing I’m ei­ther go­ing to be two or three be­hind,” Haas said. “When I made that one and then looked up and saw that we were tied, it re­ally gave me a boost.”

Haas parred the 18th - miss­ing a 15-footer - for a 1-un­der 70 to match Bryant (64) at 16-un­der 197.

“I’m dis­ap­pointed right now,” Bryant said. “To bo­gey the 18th hole, a reach­able par 5, is ex­tremely dis­ap­point­ing. Then to not make a very good run in the play­off is just fairly in­ex­cus­able to hit the two shots that I hit.”

Haas won his 18th ti­tle on the 50and-over tour and first since 2014. He won nine times on the PGA Tour and cap­tained the United States’ win­ning Pres­i­dents Cup team last year in South Korea.

The vic­tory was his first with wife Jan as his cad­die.

“Maybe she’ll re­tire on now,” Haas joked.

On 18 in reg­u­la­tion, the 53-yearold Bryant hit into the left green­side bunker in two and struck some­thing un­der the ball in the sand that sent the ball right and long. He three-putted from about 40 feet, miss­ing a 6-footer to the left.

“When it was go­ing down in the sand, it just didn’t go down, it just stopped,” Bryant said about the club­head on the bunker shot. “It didn’t get un­der­neath the ball, so I kind of caught a lit­tle bit the edge of the club where nor­mally you catch that shot in the mid­dle or high on the club.

“Hav­ing said that, there’s al­ways rub of the green, there’s al­ways top things that hap­pen. You have to man­age that well and you have to go for­ward and I didn’t re­cover and that’s why I lost the golf tour­na­ment.”

In the play­off, Bryant drove so far left that he was closer to the 10th fair­way, then hit over the trees and into a grand­stand to the right of the green. Haas hit the fair­way, and his se­cond set­tled on top of light rough, also right of the green. Bryant’s chip raced across the green and off, and Haas hit his in­side a foot to set up the win­ning birdie.

“I felt like I needed to make a 4, that he was go­ing to up-and­down from there, or even might chip it in,” Haas said. “I felt like I needed to make a birdie. I couldn’t play con­ser­va­tively at that point and prob­a­bly hit the best chip I’ve ever hit re­ally un­der the cir­cum­stances.”

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