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