Confident Haas Ready for Two Straight


2005 Administaff Small Business ClassicSPRING, Texas -- Jay Haas is sharpening his game, with the Champions Tour winding down.
He ended a 12-year victory drought last week, rallying from six strokes back in the first round to win the Greater Hickory Classic. His closing 65 was his 10th score of par or better in his last 11 Champions Tour rounds.
He is among the favorites for Friday's start of the Champions Tour Administaff Small Business Classic at Augusta Pines Golf Club.
``I've always said the best time to win is when you've just won,'' Haas said. ``You have that confidence going for you. In the past on the PGA Tour, when I've won tournaments, in the next few events I've always played very well.''
Haas' first victory since the 1993 Texas Open pushed him into the No. 32 spot on the tour money list and in contention for a spot among the top 30 money winners, who will qualify for the $2.5 million Charles Schwab Championships.
Two more tournaments remain before the championship at Sonoma, Calif., Oct. 24-30.
``It gives me renewed drive that hopefully I'll play well this week and next week and get into that top 30 for Sonoma,'' Haas said. ``I felt if I played well these three weeks I could do it. I'm right there on the edge now and I can do it. If I don't I can have a week off.''
Haas has nine PGA Tour victories. Three have come in Texas. He also won the 1982 Texas Open and the 1987 Houston Open.
Larry Nelson is the defending champion in this event, which features Arnold Palmer and Lee Trevino. Palmer last played on the Champions Tour in September and insists he's not ready for a rocking chair.
``I've been married less than a year and I'm building my wife a new house and she's putting all those things in there to keep me going. Rocking chairs are one of them,'' he said. ``But I'm not going to use them for a while.''
Trevino is playing his fourth Champions Tour event since back surgery in May.
``I thank God I can play,'' Trevino said. ``I can't beat anybody but I can play. This is the best I've felt in eight years. I don't have any power but it feels good.''
Haas won his first Champions Tour event by two shots over Dana Quigley.
``Last week was great, I can't tell you what that means to me,'' Haas said. ``Just the excitement I felt and to want to play well again and to do it with the tournament on the line with being tied with Dana with a few holes to play, and to make three birdies in the last three holes, that was pretty gratifying.''
After a slow start this year, Haas has been playing much better.
``I'd been putting too much pressure on my putting thinking it was the problem where maybe it was just one of the problems,'' Haas said. ``I've also put pressure on myself this year to play as well as I played the last few years. That probably had something to do with it.''
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