Golf forced patience upon Bill Haas over the last half-decade, and then it rewarded him on the final hole of a marathon week at the Bob Hope Classic.
After playing 140 PGA Tour events without a victory, Haas persevered through six days and five rounds across four courses before going to the final tee Monday in a three-way tie for the lead. That's where a slightly impatient shot clinched his first trophy _ and put him next to his father in Hope Classic history.
Haas gave himself a short birdie putt on the 18th by executing an aggressive approach shot after his two co-leaders couldn't do it. With his hands cold and shaking, he hit the 1-footer to finish one stroke ahead of Matt Kuchar, Tim Clark and Bubba Watson with an 8-under 64.
"I'd been wanting to win from the first tournament I played, but it's a process, and there's a lot to it," said Haas, a touted rookie in 2006. "It's special, but I don't know if it's a monkey off my back. I know how hard it was to win, and I'm grateful."
The 27-year-old son of 1988 Hope Classic champion Jay Haas was the last of three co-leaders to play the par-5 18th. Kuchar and South Africa's Clark had both missed birdie putts at the Arnold Palmer Private course, with Kuchar lamenting his inexact approach shot before Clark laid up.
Determined not to come up short, Haas expertly dropped a 3-iron behind the pin, allowing him to two-putt his way to a 30-under 330 finish, the $900,000 winner's share of the $5 million purse _ and the chance to scratch his name off the list of good players with no wins.
"Patience isn't one of my key virtues," Bill Haas said. "It's something I'm still trying to learn. This week, we were forced to be patient. Who knows? Maybe the rainout was good for me. It obviously was. It worked out for the best."
Nobody was more impressed than Jay Haas, who benefited from the rain that washed out Thursday's second round at the Hope Classic and pushed the finale to Monday. He was able to make it back to the mainland from his Champions Tour event in Hawaii in time to see his son in competition for the first time in about two years.
"To win the same tournament I won is special, and then for me to get to see it _ that's really special," said Jay Haas, who texted his son on Sunday night with a simple message: "Hit when you're ready, and never before."
Fourth-round co-leader Watson birdied the 18th after barely missing a chip for eagle, grabbing a share of second place.
Bill Haas couldn't take a deep breath or warm up his hands until that easy putt dropped _ and at that point, he didn't even know his father was in the gallery.
"It was the most nervous I've ever been," Haas said.
Haas missed the cut at last week's Sony Open, but credited his steady play in Palm Springs to a tip he received from teaching pro Bill Harmon while practicing with his father in nearby Indian Wells last Monday.
"It's definitely neat that down the road, 22 years from now, we can look at both our names on the list here," Bill Haas said. "I'm not trying to compare myself to him. He's almost unreachable."
They're the eighth father-son combination to win on the PGA Tour, but Bill Haas spent most of the day trailing Kuchar, who came from three shots back and rocketed up the tight leaderboard.
Kuchar had eight birdies in his first 11 holes, but just one in the last seven. Although his 63 was the best final round, he wished for a better second shot on the 18th. His hybrid approach landed well back on the fringe, eventually leading to a missed 13-foot birdie putt.
"It's a hole where you're counting on making a 4," Kuchar said. "I put myself in a difficult situation ... but shooting 63 is fantastic. I wasn't sure if I had that much in me today. It was a great round of golf."
Rookie Alex Prugh, who shared the lead with Watson entering the final round, started slowly but closed with three straight birdies to finish fifth at 28 under in his third career PGA Tour event. Mike Weir, the 2003 champion, threatened before dropping back with a double bogey on the 13th, eventually finishing sixth at 26 under.
Kuchar went ahead with six birdies on the front nine at the Palmer course, surging past Watson and Prugh early in the round. Haas stayed close to Kuchar's blistering pace with five birdies on the first eight holes, and Clark caught up on the 15th hole with a 6 1/2-foot birdie putt.
Kuchar's fast start didn't shake Clark, who has never won on the PGA Tour. He has a runner-up finish for the sixth straight year, including his 2006 finish at the Masters.
"I made a bunch of birdies, (and) you would think that I putted my eyeballs out, but I missed a lot of short ones," Clark said.
"There's always going to be an exciting day with so many guys bunched in there, and I started to make some birdies on the back nine to get back into it," Clark added. "When you know you have to make birdies, it makes things a little bit easier."
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