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Haas will not forget this one

JAY HAAS Ryder Cup redemption JAY HAAS Ryder Cup redemption
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Associated Press / May 26, 2008

As Jay Haas approached the 18th tee with a one-shot lead during the final round of the 69th Senior PGA Championship yesterday in Rochester, N.Y., it felt eerily like the 1995 Ryder Cup all over again.

Same stingy East Course at Oak Hill Country Club, same familiar pressure. And here was Haas's opportunity not to rewrite history exactly, but to make up for a memory that has troubled him since.

"I kind of had a chuckle with myself on the 18th tee, like, 'Well, you've been talking about this. It's time to put up or shut up,' " Haas said. "You talk about ripping it and all that stuff and, damn, if I didn't do it."

Did he ever.

Haas hit a perfect drive into the middle of the fairway and closed with a 2-foot putt for par to clinch his second Senior PGA title in three years with a final-round 4-over 74. He finished at 7-over 287, one shot better than Bernhard Langer, to win his 11th Champions event and claim the $360,000 first prize.

Just as important, this was a finish that was far better than what happened 13 years ago, when Haas drove his tee shot into the trees and settled for bogey in losing the singles match to Philip Walton that gave up the decisive point in the European team's 14 1/2-13 1/2 win over the United States. "I exorcised some demons," Haas said. "If I could've played those two shots [today] in 1995 . . . we probably would've won the Cup that year, or tied it, or whatever."

Langer, the third-round leader, posted a 76 on a day which he began with a double bogey after striking a spectator with his opening tee shot. Scott Hoch, Joey Sindelar, and 1987 US Open winner Scott Simpson finished tied for third, two shots back.

LPGA - Leta Lindley's birdie on the first hole of a playoff with Jeong Jang in the LPGA Corning (N.Y.) Classic earned her first career victory in her 295th professional start on tour.

"I can't hardly believe it," said Lindley, who took two years off to give birth to her two children. "I've been dreaming about this day forever."

Jang drove first on the extra hole, No. 18 again, and hooked her tee shot into the left rough. Lindley, who will turn 36 June 1, followed with a drive down the right side and nailed her second shot within easy birdie range.

PGA - Phil Mickelson made a 9-foot birdie putt on the final hole for a one-stroke victory at the Crowne Plaza Invitational over Tim Clark and Rod Pampling, who led by two strokes going to the back nine in Fort Worth.

It was the 34th victory for Mickelson, who had a closing 2-under 68 to finish at 14-under 266.

Europe - Miguel Angel Jimenez won the BMW PGA Championship on the second playoff hole, sinking a 2-foot birdie to beat Oliver Wilson in Virginia Water, England.

Robert Karlsson, who led by four strokes overnight, had a 74 to finish third for the third straight tournament. He needed to make a 5-foot putt for birdie to join the playoff, but three-putted to finish tied with Luke Donald (65) at 279.

Nationwide - Jeff Klauk sank a 12-foot birdie putt on No. 18 for a one-shot win in the Prince George's County (Md.) Open.

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