THE WOODLANDS, Texas (AP) One streak is guaranteed to end this weekend when two of the hottest golfers on the PGA Champions Tour tee off at the Administaff Small Business Classic.
Bernhard Langer is going for his third straight victory at the suburban Houston event that begins Friday. Jay Haas is seeking a win in his third consecutive start.
“In general, I like Texas,” Langer said Thursday. “I like fast greens. I’ve done very well in Texas the last few years. … Sometimes you just take a specific liking for a certain layout, a certain golf course. It just suits your game.”
Haas’ last two outings were victories at the Greater Hickory Classic last month and two weeks ago at the Senior Players Championship, where Langer wound up tied for fifth.
“I’m excited, obviously,” Haas said. “By winning a tournament, you get good vibes. It is tough to win at any time. To come back-to-back is even harder. I’ve had some good luck in all parts of Texas. I feel good about being here and obviously I feel good about my game. I’m relaxed, confident.”
Langer has finished in the top 10 a dozen times in 17 starts this year, including a circuit-leading four victories, the last coming in July. The German-born Langer tops the money list on the Champions Tour with almost $1.9 million.
“My game’s been OK,” he said. “It hasn’t been spectacular lately, but it’s been pretty good, pretty close.”
Haas has eight top 10s in 18 starts and is No. 4 on the money list with $1.4 million.
For Langer, the last two triumphs in Houston came at different courses. In 2007, Haas was the defending champion when Langer won this event at nearby Augusta Pines. The 54-hole tournament was moved last year and remains this weekend at The Woodlands Country Club Tournament Course, which from 1985 through 2002 was home of the regular PGA Tour’s Houston Open.
Haas in a playoff won that in 1987.
“In another age,” he laughed Thursday. “This is not a new course for a lot of the guys.”
“There’s no doubt you have a comfort level at certain places,” said Tom Watson, who finished second to Haas at the championship two weeks ago and is making his first appearance in Houston since 1986. “Once you win somewhere, it gives you an advantage over people that haven’t won there.
“You kind of know the shots you’ve played. You remember the shots and you utilize that information to win again and again.”
Langer and Haas are among the leaders in many of the tour’s statistical categories. In scoring average, Langer leads and Haas is second. In putting, Haas is second and Langer third. In birdies, Haas is first, Langer second.
Langer is trying to join five other golfers who have notched at least three consecutive victories in the same event. Hale Irwin has the longest and most recent streak. His win in 2005 at the Turtle Bay Championship was his fifth straight there.
Since the tour began in 1980, and this is the 900th official Champions Tour event, seven players have won at least three straight starts. The last to do it was Haas in 2006.