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Haas survives Oak Hill, wins 69th Senior PGA Championship
Haas endured a five-bogey, one-birdie round of 74 to finish the tournament at 7-over 287 and claim the $360,000 first prize.
Bernhard Langer, the third-round leader, finished second, a shot back after posting a 76 that 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.
Haas was part of the final threesome -- with Langer and local favorite Jeff Sluman -- that played the East Course 18 over par on Sunday.
It was Haas' 11th victory on the Champions Tour, and came after he won the 2006 Senior PGA at Oak Tree. He also becomes the 13th player to win at least two Senior PGA titles.
Haas clinched the win with a 2-foot par putt on No. 18, coming after he and Langer traded bogeys the previous hole.
Haas' 7-over was the highest winning score in relation to par in the 69-year history of Senior PGA, shattering the previous high of 2-over set by Sam Snead in 1970 at PGA National at Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. It also marked the second-highest winning score in Champions Tour history, two short of Arnold Palmer's 9-over at the 1981 Senior Open at Oakland Hills.
Oak Hill, with its narrow fairways that make up the 7,001-yard course, certainly dominated the week, surrendering only 12 sub-par rounds during the $2 million event.
Haas entered Sunday at 3 over, tied with Sluman and a shot behind Langer. On Saturday, Haas was five shots off the lead when he carded an eagle-2 on No. 17 by holing a shot from 162 yards to vault into contention.
His shot-making wasn't as magical on Sunday, and he particularly struggled with his putter. Haas missed a 3-footer for par on No. 11, and a 12-footer for par on 17.
Haas took the outright lead when he holed a 10-foot birdie putt on the par-3 5th. With the rest of the field collapsing behind him, Haas led by as many as three shots, but fell back after missing a 15-foot par putt on 13.
Oak Hill is no stranger to wild finishes and late-round collapses. This was the place where the European Team rallied from a 2-point deficit on the final day to beat the United States 14-13 in the 1995 Ryder Cup.
And Haas played a role in that loss, muffing the 18th hole to lose his singles match to Philip Walton, the decisive point for European victory. Haas played Oak Hill much better eight years later in finishing in a tie for fifth at the 2003 PGA Championship.
Langer, who had been steady all week, inexplicably unraveled over the first nine holes, which he played in 6-over 41.
Sluman, who grew up in suburban Rochester, briefly held the lead after hitting a par-saving 10-foot putt on No. 4. But he then made four bogeys over his next six holes en route to a 78. He finished with a 291 in a tie for ninth.
Greg Norman, who began the day five shots back and had all but conceded a chance at winning on Saturday, closed within two of the lead after posting three straight birdies on Nos. 12-14, putting him at even for the day and 7 over for the tournament. Norman, playing only his fourth event in two years, struggled down the stretch, finishing with a 73 and 10 over for the tournament to finish tied for sixth with Don Pooley and Ron Streck.
Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved.