Bill Haas survives final-hole scare, wins Humana Challenge

Sun Jan 25, 2015 8:01pm EST
 
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(Reuters) - Bill Haas survived a scare at the final hole to earn a one-stroke victory over five players at the $5.7 million Humana Challenge in the California desert on Sunday.

Haas took the sole lead with a 10-foot birdie at the 16th hole at the PGA West Palmer course at La Quinta on his way to his second victory in the event formerly known as the Bob Hope Classic.

He carded a 67 to finish at 22-under-par 266 for his sixth PGA Tour victory, leaving the 32-year-old only three short of catching his father, Jay Haas.

Fellows Americans Matt Kuchar (67), Charley Hoffman (64), Brendan Steele (64), Steve Wheatcroft (67) and South Korean Park Sung Joon (65) tied for second on 21-under.

Kuchar had the best chance to get to 22-under, but he missed a 10-foot birdie at the par-five 18th.

Haas parred the final hole but it was anything but routine after he pushed his drive and his ball stopped in the short rough just a couple of inches above the lip of a bunker.

He took an awkward stance in the sand with the ball above his feet, almost at waist height, which left him needing to execute almost perfect contact to avoid potential disaster.

“I could have whiffed (missed) that shot,” Haas told Golf Channel after choking down on an iron and successfully punching the ball 80 yards forward.

He eventually tapped in to secure the $1.026 million first prize in front of a gallery that included former U.S. President Bill Clinton, whose foundation is a partner in the tournament.   Continued...

 
Jan 25, 2015; La Quinta, CA, USA; Bill Haas (center) reacts after winning the Humana Challenge at PGA West - Arnold Palmer Private Course. Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports