2013 Senior PGA will provide plenty of memories for Haas

News-DemocratMay 27, 2013 

— When Belleville native Jay Haas reflects on the 2013 Senior PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club this week, he'll have a lot of wonderful memories.

He will remember the 66 which gave him a share of the first-round lead. He'll remember looking in the crowd and seeing the face of his 84-year-old uncle -- 1968 Masters champion Bob Goalby -- following him. He'll remember making consecutive birdies on holes 17 and 18 during the final two days and hearing the roar of the crowd for every good shot he hit.

Unfortunately, he'll also remember a six-hole stretch in the final round, where three bogeys cost him a chance for his third Senior PGA Championship title.

"I am disappointed just looking at those two bogeys on my scorecard on holes 11 and 14 today, two of the easier holes on the back 9," he said. "To make fives there, those were really costly. I three-putted for bogey on 16, but those two.

"All in all, I said I wanted a chance and I had a chance. But there were also a lot of good things. It was a good week and I loved being here. I wish I wasn't so disappointed finishing second, but I am.''

Third in the 2004 Senior United States Open at Bellerive, Haas shot a 1-under-par 70 on Sunday and his four-round total of 9-under-par 275 tied him for second place with Kenny Perry.

Japan's Kohki Idoki shot 65 Sunday, to finish with a 273 total and a two-stroke victory.

Uncle Bob in the house

Among the large group of metro-east fans who followed Haas around Bellerive on Sunday was Goalby.

Goalby, 84, walked all 18 holes with Haas on Saturday and the front nine on Sunday.

"I'm going into the clubhouse to watch the rest of the tournament on TV. It's hard to see anything out on the course,'' Goalby said. "Jay has played well all week. He hit one bad shot today (on No. 6), when he went into the bunker. But he did a heck of a job of getting down with just a bogey on that hole.''

Rutledge goes very low

Buried near the bottom of the standings at 1 over through 54 holes, Canadian Jim Rutledge made the biggest jump of anybody during the final round with a tournament-low 64, which vaulted him to 6-under-par for the tournament and a top-10 finish.

Even par through his first three holes, the 53-year-old Rutledge played the final six holes of the front nine at 4-under-par to make the turn in 31.

Birdies on holes 13 and 17 concluded his bogey-free round.

"I floundered for the first 27 holes of the tournament, then I really got it going on the back nine,'' Rutledge said. "Today, I hit a lot of greens, whereas the first few days, I was missing a green by a foot or a putt by a couple of inches.

"Today, I put my ball in good spots and got off to a good start, and I think that was the key to having a good round.''

Captain Tom speaks

Playing good golf isn't the only thing on Tom Watson's mind these days. The United States Ryder Cup captain for 2014 at Gleneagles Scotland, Watson already is scouting the country's top players for his team.

I've got a list that I'm looking at. Because I truly believe there will be two or three players who haven't been on the Ryder Cup team before,'' Watson said on Tuesday. "I think there are many good players out there that in the next year will come to the fore and get into that nine (players) and get on the team. Who knows I may pick one of them?''

And what is Watson looking for in his captain's picks?

"I want players with heart, somebody that can play with the lead and somebody who can play in bad conditions,'' Watson said. "And we're looking at guys who can make that 5-footer everytime they need it. Every time.''

That Ryder Cup will be held Sept. 26-28, 2014.

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