Bill Haas gets double victory at the Tour Championship
Reporting from Atlanta — On his final hole of regulation, Bill Haas blasted his tee shot into a row of spectators. He did it again to start the playoff. The next hole sent him trekking through both sand and water.
No one would call it the most conventional — or safest — way to capture the FedEx Cup. When it comes to edge-of-your-seat escapism, though, Haas certainly got his $11.4 million worth out of Sunday’s adventures.
“This is very unexpected, I guess,” the 29-year-old pro said after completing an improbable rush that saw him grab a three-shot lead with three holes left at East Lake Golf Club, watch it vanish, then scramble his way through the richest playoff in golf history.
The duel with Hunter Mahan ended with a comparatively routine par on the third extra hole — but only after Haas saved par one hole earlier with a brilliant chip from the watery edge of East Lake.
“I can’t say the word ‘fortunate’ or ‘lucky’ or whatever enough,” said Haas, who got into the playoff with a two-under-par 68. “I hit horrendous shots. I just hit really good recovery shots.
“I wish I could have hit a good tee shot on [No.] 16 in regulation and made par, and I wish I could have made the putt from 10 feet on 18 in regulation. We’d still be talking here, but it would not be nearly as cool, I guess — or not nearly as exciting for the fans.”
The Tour Championship victory was worth $1.44 million to Haas’ bank account. And with FedEx points leader Webb Simpson stumbling to a closing 73, Haas wound up passing him for the FedEx crown — and the $10-million winner’s bonus — by 15 points.
Not that Haas had a clue even as he stood on a balcony adjacent to East Lake’s 18th green for the trophy ceremony.
“Both trophies were there, and there was no other player,” said Haas, who came to East Lake ranked 25th in FedEx Cup points. “I looked at my wife and she nodded her head, so that’s when I realized it.”
Simpson’s 73 left him 22nd for the week. Two fewer bogeys and he would have stayed in front of Haas.
“A little disappointed I didn’t play any better,” Simpson said. “But I’m pretty tired right now, and it’s kind of shown in my golf game this week.”
Haas stumbled into the playoff with bogeys on two of his final three holes, then scrambled for par after his tee shot at the par-three 18th flew into the grandstand. Moving back to No.17, he was on the ropes again when his approach bounced off the green and onto East Lake’s edge.
With maybe a quarter-inch of water under his ball, Haas plucked it clean and watched it roll to 2 1/2 feet of the pin. “Just like a bunker shot there in the water,” he said.
Said Mahan: “I figured, ‘Boy, he’s in the water. If he hits it within 10 feet, it’s going to be a hell of a shot.’ He hit it to two feet, so you’ve got to tip your hat to him.”
Mahan, who came to East Lake 21st in FedEx Cup points, closed with a 71 and joined Haas at eight-under 272.
World No.1 Luke Donald (69), K.J. Choi (70) and Aaron Baddeley (72) finished one shot back in a tie for third. If Donald had finished one place higher, he would have collected the FedEx Cup largesse.
Go beyond the scoreboard
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