The 29-year-old Haas, who in September captured the 2011 season-ending Tour Championship and a $10 million bonus for winning the FedEx Cup, is now second to Dustin Johnson in PGA Tour victories among players younger than 30. He received about $1.2 million for yesterday’s victory at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, California.
“I never expected to make a 40-footer, and especially in that situation,” Haas said at a news conference. “I felt like I put a good roll on it, and it was meant to be I guess.”
With the victory, Haas prevented Mickelson from becoming the first golfer to win PGA Tour events in back-to-back weeks since Tiger Woods in 2009. Mickelson, who won the Pebble Beach National Pro Am on Feb. 12, was tied with Bradley for the lead entering yesterday’s final round.
Haas, who was two shots back after the third round, had a 2-under-par 69 to finish at 7-under 277. Mickelson and Bradley each shot even-par rounds of 71 and both needed to birdie the last hole in regulation play to force the playoff.
All three players made par at the first extra hole, the par-4 18th. At the next, the 312-yard par-4 10th that can be reached from the tee, Mickelson left himself a pitch over a bunker, Bradley landed in a bunker in front of the green and Haas found rough on the other side of the green.
Haas played to the center of the green more than 40 feet from the cup, Mickelson’s lob shot rolled through the putting surface into a bunker and Bradley finished closest to the hole, stopping on the back edge. Haas then drained his putt and Mickelson, a two-time Northern Trust Open winner, and 2011 PGA Championship winner Bradley missed their birdie chances.
“I thought I put myself in the best position to give myself the best case to continue the playoff,” Haas said. “It just happened that I won right there.”
Mickelson, who claimed his 40th PGA Tour title at Pebble Beach, lost his lead yesterday when he bogeyed the 14th and 15th holes with his only three-putt greens of the tournament. He made the playoff with a 27-foot birdie putt at the 18th, while Bradley made a birdie of about half the distance.
“It was very defensive because the greens were so firm, the pins were tough,” Mickelson said about the course setup at Riviera. “Although there was no rough, it had kind of a U.S. Open feel.”
Sergio Garcia had two eagles and two birdies over his final nine holes to end with a 7-under-par 64 that took him to 5-under par and a tie for fourth place. The Spaniard began the last day in 45th position.
The tour now moves to the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club’s Dove Mountain course in Marana, Arizona, for the Accenture Match Play, the year’s first World Golf Championships tournament. Mickelson and Paul Casey are the only golfers in the top 64 of the Official World Ranking not in the field. The Mayakoba Golf Classic, Mexico’s only PGA Tour event, also takes place this week.
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