Weekend Recap: Bill Haas wins Humana Challenge
After three rounds, Haas, first-round leader Michael Putnam, tour rookie Justin Thomas and 2014 U.S. Open runner-up Erik Compton were tied for the lead at 17-under. Putnam opened play with a double-bogey on Sunday’s first hole, made another on the back nine and dropped 14 spots into a tie for 15th. Compton fared little better in Round 4. After making 18 birdies over the first three days, the Florida native mustered a meager three birdies on Sunday, dropping to a tie for 10th. Budding phenom Justin Thomas, 21, produced six birdies over the final 18 holes, but was undone by inexperience. A bogey and a double sullied his card and he finished two strokes behind the leader, in a tie for seventh. Bill Haas did what veteran champions do. He weathered another slow start (over par after three holes) with a counter-offensive that featured a birdie-par-eagle-par-birdie stretch from holes four to eight. Haas avoided trouble on the back nine, posting an efficient 34 with two birdies. All that can be said for the runners-up is that they ran out of real estate. Hoffman birdied five of his final six; Steele and Wheatcroft, their last two. Park ran off five birdies in his final eight holes, while Kuchar birdied No. 17 but could not find one, sub-par hole. Last spring at Hilton Head, Haas took a tumble down some stairs and came up wounded.
“I think the weather today, the weather, I mean, it’s perfect out there, but there is definitely some wind,” Haas said. “I don’t think it takes much wind here in the desert to really affect the way the golf course plays … So, it made me hit a few bad shots that made me then play safe and I couldn’t get aggressive on some of the holes.”
Given the uncertainty about the wrist and the lack of competitive conditioning, it’s a wonder the two-time tournament champion entered the discussion. File this one under “horses for courses” and let’s move on to Scottsdale and the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
"I fractured my wrist last year, not to the point where I couldn’t play,” Haas said. “I played on it, and doctor’s orders were if you want it to heal, you need to not play. So basically for three months I played a few outings and that was it. I didn’t practice, I didn’t grind it out, just because I was trying to get healthy. So, when I came out here, last Wednesday, I literally was knocking rust off, like we say.”
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