His time Haas come…
This past weekend’s Northern Trust PGA tournament brought about an amazing finish. I love watching the end of tournaments, especially when they go to playoffs. The amount of pressure it places on the players is second to none, and its great to see who can rise to the occasion.
Three different players found themselves in the mix with just the 18th hole left to play. Even last week’s winner, Phil Mickelson, was in the hunt yet again and looking to go back to back. Bill Haas was first in the club house with a 277. Both Phil and Keegan Bradley came into the 18th hole needing a birdie to force a playoff with Haas. Phil’s approach shot into 18 left him with a 30+ foot birdie try, Keegan was left with a much shorter chance.
Phil took his time, walked his putt out to get a feel, then stepped into his routine. The entire crowd left watching at 18 went silent as Mickelson drew his putter back. As the ball approached the hole, the crowd grew louder and louder, then exploded when the ball dropped in the bottom of the cup for a 30+ foot bird! Talk about a clutch putt. This put a ton of pressure on Keegan’s putt. He too rolled in his chance for a birdie to make it a 3-man playoff.
Haas, Bradley, and Mickelson all went to a sudden death playoff structure that would last two extra holes. The first playoff hole at the 18th, each player made par, which forced them to go to the Par 4 10th. Mickelson’s tee shot on the 10th left him an over the bunker shot to the green, while Keegan’s tee shot landed in the bunker. Haas wound up in the rough next to the green. Decisions, decisions, decisions….
Both Keegan and Phil took their chances, and attacked the flag stick, but fell well short. Haas chose to play it safe , and left himself a long 40 foot birdie put, and in much better position than the other two golfers. Haas drained his 40 foot birdie putt to win the tournament, as Keegan and Phil both missed their chances at birdie.
Haas last found himself in the winners’ circle last year, as he took down the Fed Ex Cup Championship for 11 Million dollars. With Phil finishing 1st last week and T2 this week, he is a certain favorite at The Masters. When talking about favorites, you can never leave out Tiger Woods, Bill Haas, or Rory McElroy. I’m looking forward to seeing if Rory has learned from last years Masters experience, or if Tiger is back on Jack Nicklaus’ major championship trail again.
The Accenture Match Play 2012 begins today, which should be a good barometer of whose game is on the rise, leading into the first major of the year, The Masters. All of the greats on the PGA Tour will be out this week, competing head to head against each other.
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