He did it by unleashing a steady barrage of birdies throughout the week, leading the field in the category of birdies made.
The difference on Sunday was that Haas was able to follow up those birdies with pars. He would make only one bogey in his final round.
That kind of consistency depends on several factors. Haas was near the top in every putting statistic for the week, but he was also able to get in the top five in greens hit in regulation.
When you’re hitting greens and making putts, there’s a good chance your score is going low.
The level of ball striking that a majority of tour professionals possess includes a lot of keys. One of those keys, and that’s true for Haas, is a consistent swing plane, or path the golf club travels during each swing.
Here are some keys to making sure your swing plane is giving you your best shot each time:
• Get the right feedback. You might think your club is swinging in one direction, only to find out it’s the opposite. The most basic way to check your swing plane is to analyze your divots. If you’ve aimed correctly, your divot should point in the direction of your target, or for the right-handed golfer, slightly left.
• Use avoidance drills to practice the correct swing plane. My favorite drill is to take a 2x4 or golf club box and set it on the ground just outside the ball, parallel to the target line. Leave just enough space from the ball that when you are at address the toe of the club is only about ½ inch from the box. Simply make swings, hitting the ball without hitting the box.
• Record your own swing. With increasing quality of camera phones and apps that allow you to record and analyze your own swing, it is more important than ever that you know how to properly record your swing. Camera position from the down the line view is critical. Most instructors choose to record the swing from the target line or hand line. Consistency in which you choose is the next step. A change in camera angle, when drawing lines to check swing plane, will show you something completely different even if the swing was exactly the same.