Haas Cruises to Third Champions Title


2006 Liberty Mutual Legends of GolfSAVANNAH, Ga. -- Jay Haas poured in an eagle and three birdies on the back nine Sunday to pull away and win the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf by five shots. He closed with a 5-under 67 to end at 15-under-par 201.
Haas' total established a new 54-hole record for this event. The old mark of 204 was set in 1993 by Harold Henning, Don January and Tom Weiskopf.
The win for the 52-year-old Haas was his third on the Champions Tour.
'I switched to a new driver last week and that really seemed to help me,' said Haas, who collected $395,000 for the win. 'I really felt comfortable and hit some clutch drives down the stretch. I made a lot of putts too and you have to do that to win out here.'
Craig Stadler bogeyed the final two holes to close a round of 2-under 70. He finished alongside Peter Jacobsen at 10-under-par 206 in second place. Jacobsen posted a 5-under 67 in the final round at The Westin Savannah Harbor Resort and Spa.
Hale Irwin, the all-time wins leader on the Champions Tour and 2004 winner here, moved into fourth place at minus-9 with a Sunday 68. Des Smyth, the 2005 champion, fired a 6-under 66 to take fifth at 7-under-par 209.
Haas played the opening nine at even par with a birdie on the first and a bogey on No. 8. The leaderboard got crowded around the turn, though.
Jacobsen had collected birdies on the fourth, seventh and ninth to move to minus-eight. He poured in a 35-foot birdie try at the 10th and made it three in a row with a two-putt birdie on 11. That gave him a share of the lead with Haas at 10 under.
Stadler posted his lone front-nine birdie on the fourth. He also two-putted for birdie on 11 to briefly make it a three-way tie for the lead at 10 under.
However, it was all Haas from there. He sank an 11-foot eagle effort on 11 to jump two ahead. Haas stuffed his approach shot within 3 feet at the 13th and then kicked that in for birdie.
The three-time Ryder Cupper two-putted for par on the next two holes. Haas converted a 17-foot birdie try on 16, then made an 11-footer for birdie at the next to get to 15 under. Haas calmly two-putted for par and the win at the last.
'Craig made a nice birdie at 15 and got within one,' Haas said. 'I lipped in about a 6- or 7-footer for par. The next two holes were key. I made a nice birdies and Craig let me off the hook a little bit with a bogey at 17.'
Stadler, who was playing alongside Haas, nearly holed his short approach shot on the 13th. That shot stopped two inches from the hole and he tapped in for birdie to remain two behind Haas.
The 1982 Masters champion ran in a 29-footer for birdie on 15 to get within one, but trouble loomed. Stadler missed the 17th short and could not get up and down for par. He closed with a three-putt bogey at the last to drop into a share of second.
Jacobsen got up and down for birdie at the short par-4 14th to get to 11 under, which put him two behind Haas. The 2004 U.S. Senior Open champion parred his next two before a three-putt bogey on 17 dropped him to 10-under.
Recent World Golf Hall of Fame electee Larry Nelson closed with a 3-under 69. He shared sixth place at 6-under-par 210 with Tom Jenkins (70), Mark Johnson (70) and Jerry Pate (73).
Three-time winner this season Loren Roberts closed with a 70 to end in 10th place at five-under-par 211. Brad Bryant and Gil Morgan were one stroke further back at minus-4.
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