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Notebook: Tidbits from Day 4 at Oak Hill
He becomes the 13th different player to win multiple Senior PGA Championship titles. The others: Sam Snead (6 Championships); Hale Irwin (4); Gary Player, Al Watrous and Eddie Williams (3 each); Julius Boros, Jock Hutchison, Don January, Arnold Palmer, Paul Runyan, Gene Sarazen and Lee Trevino (2 each).
Jay Haas claimed his 11th career victory on the Champions Tour Sunday and now has won at least one tournament in each of the last four years on the circuit.
Jay Haas' victory near Rochester this week was his second triumph in the state of New York. Haas won the third of his nine PGA Tour titles at the B.C. Open near Binghamton.
Jay Haas's four-round score of 7--over 287 was the highest 72-hole total in relation to par by a winner in the 69-year history of the Senior PGA Championship. The previous high was 2-over 290 by Sam Snead in 1970. Haas' total this week was also the second-highest winning score in Champions Tour history. Arnold Palmer won the 1981 U.S. Senior Open at Oakland Hills in a playoff after he, Bob Stone and Billy Casper finished 72 holes at 9-over 289.
When Miller Barber won his second U.S. Senior Open title here at Oak Hill, he won with a 6-over 286 score. Before Sunday, the last player on the Champions Tour to win an event with an over-par total was Hale Irwin (+1, 285) at the 1998 U.S. Senior Open at Riviera.
Jay Haas' final-round score of 4-over 74 is the highest finish by a winner since Loren Roberts shot 5-over 75 in the final round of the 2006 Senior British Open at Turnberry but still managed to defeat Eduardo Romero in a playoff.
With Haas' one-stroke, come-from-behind victory, six of the last seven winners of the Senior PGA Championship have now come from behind on the last day for victory. In 2006, Haas came from four strokes back in the final round at Oak Tree and eventually defeated Brad Bryant in a playoff.
Jay Haas earned 720 Charles Schwab Cup points for winning the Senior PGA Championship and moved ever so close to Bernhard Langer in the season-long race. Points in the Schwab Cup chase are awarded based on top-10 finishes and dollar amounts won in events on a per-thousand basis (i.e. $80,000 equals 80 Charles Schwab Cup points). This week's points were doubled, as will be the case in the other four remaining major championships on the Champions Tour and also at the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
Haas now has 1,412 points on the year but Langer, the leader coming into this week, earned 432 Schwab Cup points Sunday for his runner-up finish and leads Haas by just one point after 13 official events in 2008. Scott Hoch picked up 205 points today after finishing tied for third at Oak Hill and Hoch is in third place with 1,025 total points. At the end of the official season, the player earning the most points will receive a $1 million payout from Charles Schwab.
Jay Haas also picked up a first-place check for $360,000 and increased his 2008 official earnings to $1,087,530. Bernhard Langer continues to lead the money list with $1,251,128.
The East Course at Oak Hill played to a stroke average of 76.000 (+6.000) for the week, the highest scoring average in relation to par for a Champions Tour event since the 1998 U.S. Senior Open. Ten years ago, the par-71 Riviera Country Club played to a stroke average of 77.654 (+6.654).
The 460-yard, par-4 17th hole on the East Course at Oak Hill played as the hardest for the event at 4.603, yielding just 17 birdies and one eagle (Jay Haas, Rd. 3). Last year, the 448-yard, par-4 first hole at Muirfield, site of the Senior British Open, yielded just 10 birdies and played to a stroke average of 4.824 for the week.
How hard was the East Course at Oak Hill Sunday? The cumulative score of the final group (Jay Haas, Bernhard Langer and Jeff Sluman) was 18 over par. Last year, the final threesome on The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island (S.C.) Golf Resort -- Denis Watson, Eduardo Romero and Nick Price -- played their last round in a cumulative 5 under par.
Joey Sindelar of Horseheads, N.Y., had his highest finish thus far on the Champions Tour. Sindelar's tie for third at Oak Hill was his best effort in a Tour-sanctioned event since his playoff victory at the 2004 Wachovia Championship. Rochester's Jeff Sluman also finished among the top 10 this week. His tie for ninth performance at Oak Hill was his fourth top-10 effort on the Champions Tour in his last five starts.
World Golf Hall of Famer Greg Norman made his first appearance on the Champions Tour this week since the 2005 U.S. Senior Open and registered another top-10 finish. In his three career appearances on the circuit, Norman has now tied for third at the Senior British Open at Royal Aberdeen, solo fourth at the U.S. Senior Open at NCR CC in Dayton, Ohio, and tied for sixth at the Senior PGA Championship at Oak Hill.
John Ross shot 2-under 68 Sunday, the lowest score on Sunday among the 84 players in the field. Ross's Sunday round moved him from a tie for 69th into a tie for 34th in the event. 62-year-old Vicente Fernandez and Gene Jones posted 1-under 69s, the only other sub-70 rounds at Oak Hill Sunday.
The second of five majors on the Champions Tour will take place in late July at Royal Troon Golf Club in Scotland. Tom Watson will defend his title at the Senior British Open.