ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) As Jay Haas approached the 18th tee at Oak Hill Country Club with a one-shot lead during the final round of the 69th Senior PGA Championship on Sunday, it felt eerily like the 1995 Ryder Cup all over again.
Same stingy East Course, same familiar pressure. And here was Haas' opportunity not to rewrite history exactly, but to make up for a memory that has troubled him since.
"I kind of had a chuckle with myself on the 18th tee, like, 'Well, you've been talking about this. It's time to put up or shut up,'" Haas said. "You talk about ripping it and all that stuff and, damn, if I didn't do it."
Did he ever.
Haas hit a perfect drive into the middle of the fairway and closed with a 2-foot putt for par to clinch his second Senior PGA title in three years with a final-round 4-over 74 to finish at 7-over 287, one shot better than Bernhard Langer. Haas won his 11th Champions Tour event and claimed the $360,000 first prize of the $2 million tournament.
Just as important, this was a finish that was far better than what happened 13 years ago, when Haas drove his tee shot into the trees and settled for bogey to lose the singles match to Philip Walton, giving up the decisive point in the European team's comeback 14 1/2-13 1/2 win over the United States.
"I exorcised some demons," Haas said. "If I could've played those two shots (today) in 1995 ... we probably would've won the Cup that year or tied it or whatever."
Langer, a member of that European team, also remembered 1995, and graciously congratulated Haas for his victory.
"I said, 'Well done and well-deserved,"' Langer said. "And he said, 'You know, there was one guy after the Ryder Cup that came over and said some nice words to me.' And he meant me. ... It was a pleasure playing with him."
It had to be a far bigger pleasure than playing this narrow and well-protected 7,001-yard course that surrendered only 12 sub-par rounds all week.
Langer, the third-round leader, posted a 76 on a day which he began with a double bogey after striking a spectator with his opening tee shot. Scott Hoch, Joey Sindelar and 1987 U.S. Open-winner Scott Simpson finished tied for third, two shots back.