Haas takes advantage of Purtzer collapse
CONCORD, Mass.(AP) Jay Haas set his sights on second place and instead came away with his second consecutive victory on the Champions Tour.
Whittling away a three-stroke deficit when Tom Purtzer suffered through an eerily familiar Sunday collapse, Haas shot a 6 under-par 66 to win by three strokes and earn his fourth victory of the year. The only multiple winner on the over-50 tour, Haas finished at 13-under to pick up a check for $247,500.
"You can't feel sorry for anybody out here when you're doing it," Haas said. "But after the fact, sure, I wish he would have had a better day."
Leonard Thompson, who had a double-eagle on the first round and eagle on the 538-yard, par-5 10th on Sunday, finished second, tied with Brad Bryant at three strokes back. Purtzer shot a 73 to finish four strokes back, and first-round leader Tom Watson tied for fifth with Dan Edwards and R.W. Eaks.
Purtzer has twice finished fourth and twice finished second in four trips to Concord, including the previous two tournaments when he also took the lead into the final round. Last year's event was canceled because of rain and flooding - the tour's first complete cancellation since the Sept. 11 attacks.
"That's one of my best friends out here," Haas said of Purtzer, who shot 39 on the back nine to fall into fourth place. "My best hope was I was going to get into a playoff with Tom. I thought it would be pretty cool if I did that, or maybe finish second to him."
Purtzer shot 66 in the first round and 68 on Saturday, and he still led Haas by a stroke at the turn over the 6,741-yard, par-72 course.
"I still thought that Tom Purtzer was going to be champion," Haas said. "He had been playing so well and it didn't look like (having the lead) bothered him coming out of the blocks. It looked like we were all playing for second place."
But Purtzer bogeyed three straight holes and then plunked his tee shot into the water on the par-3 17th for a double-bogey.
"I self-destructed more than anything," Purtzer said. "I just kind of struggled. I didn't have the feeling I had the last few days.
After the first round this year, a beaming Purtzer proclaimed his love for all things Nashawtuc. Asked on Sunday if he still loved the place, Purtzer said, "There's nothing wrong with the course. It was self-induced."
Meanwhile, Haas made the turn at 11-under and picked up a pair of birdies on the back nine to complete his bogey-free round. He added his name to a list of champions that includes his uncle, Bob Goably, who won the event in its very first year and taught Haas how to play golf.
"I always feel grateful to him for what he gave to me," Haas said.
Haas, who won the tour's last event in Des Moines, Iowa, two weeks ago, is the only multiple winner on the Champions Tour this year. It's the second time in his career that he has won back-to-back events, and his 10th win overall in 49 starts on the over-50 tour.
Divots: Haas went over $20 million in career earnings (PGA and Champions Tour). He extended his lead over second-place Denis Watson in the Charles Schwab Cup race to 1,703-1,120.