Monday Morning Golf Report
Oct. 5, 2009
Jay Haas charged past Tom Watson to win the Senior Players Championship by one stroke, birdying the 18th hole Sunday to match the course record with a 6-under 64 in the final Champions Tour major of the season at Baltimore Country Club.
Haas, who was coming off a victory at the Greater Hickory Classic two weeks ago, opened the tournament with a solid round of 66 and was just one-shot off the lead. He then carded rounds of 70 and 67 to get to 7-under and was in fifth place heading into the final round.
Watson tied the course record with a 64 on Saturday which gave him a four-shot lead over three players with a round to play. After the first 10 holes on Sunday, Watson had fallen back to 11-under but still held a one-stroke lead over Haas, who was 10-under.
The lead stayed at one after Haas birdied 14 and Watson birdied 15, but just like two weeks ago, Haas got hot at the end, birdying to final two holes to grab the one-shot victory at 13-under par.
This was the second consecutive victory for Haas since returning to the Tour after an elbow injury that had been hampering him much of the last couple months.
After shooting an opening round 74, Gary Hallberg bounced-back with three good rounds of 68-69-67 to finish tied for 15th at 2-under par.
The PGA Tour started the Fall Series last week at the Turning Stone Resort Championship in Verona, NY. Webb Simpson got off to a bit of a slow start but closed strong to post his fourth top-10 of the season and eclipsed the one-million dollar mark in earnings in this his rookie season.
Simpson made the cut at 2-under par after rounds of 70-72 but came out Saturday and made six birdies and just one bogey for a round of 5-under 67 to get him into a tie for 24th heading into the final round.
On Sunday, the 2008 graduate made a total eight birdies and in eagle in a sensational round of 7-under 65 which vaulted him to tied for seventh at 14-under par. His eagle came at the par-5 18th, where he knocked his approach from 244 yards out to 15-feet and rolled in the putt.
Simpson has now made $1,171,574 in his first season on Tour and is 70th on the money list. He has a total of four top-10s and seven top-25s in 15 cuts made this year.
Simpson and Marc Leishman are the likely front runners for Rookie of the Year honors. Leishman missed the cut this past week and has a total of eight top-25s with three top-10s and is 44th on the money list with $1,742,243 in earnings.
Bill Haas was also in the field last week and was paired with Simpson in the first two rounds. He too made the cut at 2-under par and carded rounds of 68-71 over the weekend to finish tied for 42nd at 7-under par. This was Haas' 15th cut made this season.
At the Nationwide Tour's Saboba Classic in San Jacinto, Calif., Ron Whittaker, Kyle Reifers and Len Mattiace all had tough weeks and none of the three made the cut. There are just two events remaining before the Tour Championship which only invites the top-60 in the money list.
Whittaker has slipped back to 89th and needs a couple of good weeks to crack the top-60. Reifers is currently 58th but this week, the Tour swings back east now for the Chattanooga Classic at the Black Creek Club in Chattanooga, Tenn., where in 2006, Reifers fired a final round 61 and won in his first start on Tour.
Laura Diaz made her first cut in the last four starts at the Navistar LPGA Classic last week. She shot rounds of 70-74-74-71 to finish tied for 65th at 1-over par. The ladies will now be off until the end of the month when they will head to the Hana Bank KOLON Championship in Incheon, South Korea.
The PGA Tour will be in L:as Vegas, Nev., this week for the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open at the TPC of Summerlin while the seniors will take a week off before playing the Administaff Small Business Classic at The Woodlands CC in The Woodlands, Texas.
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