The model of consistency

first_imgNEWPORT BEACH – Once Jay Haas earned a share of the Toshiba Classic lead after the opening round, it was apparent he enjoyed the view from the top. Haas put on an exhibition on how to play with a lead, going on to win the Champions Tour event Sunday in record fashion with a final-round 6-under 65 to win at 19-under 194, two shots ahead of R.W. Eaks. “It’s hard playing with the lead,” said Haas, who broke the tournament record of 17-under-par set by Hale Irwin in 2002. “It’s hard to be aggressive.” Haas shared the lead with five others after Friday’s first round, then gained a one-shot lead over Peter Jacobsen at 13 under entering the final round. He had just one bogey for the tournament, the par-3 No. 8. But if there were any breakdown in his game, Haas turned it aside. He birdied No. 9 to make the turn at 2 under, then added three straight birdies on the back nine and gained a cushion that no one else would touch. “I don’t want to say I was comfortable,” Haas said. “But with a three to four-shot lead, I didn’t want to do anything stupid.” Since joining golf’s senior circuit in 2002, Haas has forged ahead to become one of its top players. He won last year’s player of the year award after winning four titles and a record $2.4 million. The $247,500 victory was his first of the season, but already his fourth top-10 in only six events. The 50-and-older tour seems to suit Haas quite well. After winning nine times in 29 years on the PGA Tour, he has won seven Champions titles in more than three years. center_img “I certainly continued to ride the wave from last year,” Haas said. “I’ve played well all year. I got a lot of breaks today; all week, too.” Eaks fired a final round of 65, too, but it didn’t seem to matter much. He said he knew he was playing for second place after the 12th hole. “Every time I made a birdie, he made one on top of me,” Eaks said. “It really was something to watch. “It’s such a pleasure to play with him because he makes you play better.” Prior to the final round, Eaks said he didn’t think anyone could catch Haas. He was right. “It was a nice week,” said Eaks, who spent most of the 1990s playing on the Nationwide Tour and only two years on the PGA Tour. “Any time I can play golf on the Champions Tour is good. Believe me, there are a lot other things I could be doing. Playing on the Champions Tour is the best.” Joe Ozaki and Ben Crenshaw tied for third at 13-under 200. It was Crenshaw’s highest finish in his Champions career, while Ozaki matched his best finish. Not bad for someone who earned his way into the field by earning a spot in the open qualifier. Helendale resident Mark Johnson tied for 30th at 6-under 207, while Redlands resident Dave Stockton tied for 58th at even-par 213. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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