Thorpe Wins Roberts Loses Big

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2006 Charles Schwab Cup ChampionshipSONOMA, Calif. -- Jim Thorpe played brilliantly down the stretch Sunday to shoot a 4-under 68 and win the Charles Schwab Cup Championship. The overnight leader finished at 17-under-par 271 and won by two over Tom Kite at Sonoma Golf Club.
 
Kite held the lead on the back nine, but stumbled. He only managed an even-par on the back nine, but shot a 4-under 68 for second place at 15-under-par 273.
 
Jim Thorpe
Jim Thorpe reacts to his first win of the season.
Keith Fergus fired a 6-under 66 for a solo third at minus-14.
 
Aside from the tournament title, there was quite a battle between Jay Haas and Loren Roberts for the year-long Charles Schwab Cup race, which featured a $1 million annuity. Haas won it, but it was certainly not easy.
 
It was back-and-forth on the back nine between the two as Haas held a lead in the race heading into the season-ending event. Roberts built a three-shot lead over Haas in the tournament and since this event featured double points, that would have been enough for the $1 million.
 
Haas rebounded in a big way with a 20-foot eagle putt on the 16th hole. He cut the gap to one shot and that was enough to hold on to the Charles Schwab Cup race title.
 
Roberts appeared to be in serious trouble at the same hole in the group behind. His second at the par-5 hole landed in the right rough, but he hit as good a pitch as he could to 22 feet. Roberts, nicknamed 'The Boss of the Moss,' rolled in the long birdie putt and moved ahead of Haas in the year-long race.
 
Roberts was 16 points ahead and two shots in front of Haas in the tournament. Haas got into the clubhouse at minus-11, so Roberts needed a par at the closing hole.
 
At No. 18, Roberts hit a 3-wood off the tee, which put him in the fairway, but left him a long way to the pin. His approach came up 62 feet short and one of the game's best putters ran it 5 feet past. Roberts' par putt lipped out of the hole and that cost him the $1 million annuity for winning the Charles Schwab Cup race.
 
'I think I got a little fatigued,' admitted Roberts, who earned a $500,000 annuity. 'I had a lot of things going on. I made a couple on the back nine, but the putter let me down today. That's what happens sometimes.'
 
'First of all, I want to thank Loren and congratulate him,' said Haas, who won by 30 points and also wrapped up the money title. 'I heard he had a 5-footer on the last hole and I was saying, 'yup, he's going to make that one.' He's a wonderful putter and I feel terrible for him for not getting this award.'
 
Thorpe built a two-shot lead with a 6-foot birdie putt at the eighth. Kite erased that deficit with a tap-in birdie at the ninth, a hole he eagled on Thursday, and a 6-foot birdie putt at the 10th.
 
Kite took the lead when Thorpe hit a terrible approach at 10 and left with a bogey. Thorpe reclaimed first at the par-5 13th when he knocked his second to 8 feet. He holed the eagle putt to move into the lead at 16 under par.
 
Kite missed a 3-foot par putt at the 15th and fell two back. Thorpe's approach at the same hole sailed over the green, but he chipped in for a birdie and a three-shot lead.
 
At the par-5 16th, Kite recorded a birdie to trim the margin to two. Thorpe hit an 8-iron to 3 feet to set up birdie at the par-3 17th.
 
Armed with a three-shot lead on 18, Thorpe made a bogey, but collected his second win at this event.
 
'It's a golf course that suits me very, very well,' said Thorpe. 'I have a lot of short clubs in my hand, shooting for birdies at tight pins. If I get my putter going, I've always been a tough player.'
 
Roberts finished with a 1-under 71 on Sunday to tie Eduardo Romero, who shot a 4-under 68 in the final round. The pair came in at minus-12.
 
Haas was joined in sixth place by Craig Stadler (69) and three-time winner, including 2005, Tom Watson (70). The trio finished at 11-under-par 277.
 
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