Bill Haas began the day in a four-way tie atop the leaderboard at Congressional Country Club (CCC) but was the last man standing after play concluded on Sunday after firing a final round 66 to post 12-under-par 272 for his first victory of 2013. American Roberto Castro, one of the co-54-hole-leaders, finished nine-under 275 for solo second. South Korean D.H. Lee, who shot the low round of the day and T-low round of the tournament with 64, joined Jason Kokrak one shot back for joint third.
Bill Haas announced his attentions to the field on Saturday when he racked up nine birdies en route to 68 and share of the 54-hole lead. Haas could have been clear and gone but triple on No. 11 kept the field within striking distance. Haas posted 10 birdies on Thursday and Friday combined, but it was six more on Sunday that saw him comfortably win for the fifth time on TOUR in his career. His 25 birdies for the week led the field; his number of pars made, 37, was dead last in the 77-man cut field. His 13 birdies came on par fours, which shouldn’t have been surprising as he sits eighth on TOUR in par-four performance. Of the four leaders heading into Sunday, Haas stood out to me as the clear favorite and he backed that up.
Haas was in the top 11 this week because he hits GIR for fun and this week wasn’t any different as he finished T4. With that many chances, Haas didn’t have to putt perfectly but he almost did. Those 25 birdies weren’t an accident as he was second in strokes gained-putting and second in putts per GIR. Haas isn’t tremendously long but he hits more fairways than he misses. This leads to plenty of GIR and when guys who ping GIR get the putter rolling, things like this happen!
Heading into this week, Haas had MC in three of his last four events (Quail Hollow, THE PLAYERS and U.S. Open). The good news was he did peg a T4 at the Memorial on another tough track, Muifield Village. Entering the week, Haas hit the top 10 in six of 11 weekends and was in the top 25 in nine of those. Now, let’s make it seven top 10s and 10 top 25s altogether in 2013. Haas joins Billy Horschel on seven top 10s to lead the TOUR this season.
Bill Haas has been nothing but solid over the last four years and should be on your radar when he’s in the field. Sure, he’ll have streaks when blows cold, as noted above, but I keep trying to bang this saying into gamers heads: form is temporary; class is permanent. He began his career winning on tracks where 20-something MIGHT get you in a playoff (Humana and Sanderson Farms) but he’s grown up before our eyes. Haas, in the last three years, has now won at fabled courses such as Congressional, Riviera and East Lake. Over the last five years, Haas just keeps getting better and with his seventh top 10 of 2013 he matches his career-best from 2011. To put in perspective just how good Haas has been over the last four years, consider that only Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose, Phil Mickelson and now Haas have won in each of those seasons. That’s elite company. That’s class.
With this victory, Haas collects $1,170,000 and 500 FedExCup points.
Déjà vu All Over Again?
In seven events, the AT&T National champion has been a “big boy” in the game of golf. Haas joins K.J. Choi, Nick Watney, Justin Rose, Anthony Kim and Tiger Woods as winners of this event.
Only 12 of the 54-hole leaders or co-leaders have gone on to win the 25, full-field, stroke-play events on the season. Bill Haas will get the credit as opposed to giving the other three 54-hole-co-leaders the grief! Winning > all.
There have been 27 tournaments this season. The Stars and Stripes have won 22 of them. #USA
There have also been 10 first-time winners this season. There have also been just two multiple winners, Woods (four) and Kuchar (WGC-Match Play; Memorial). No changes in those numbers this week.
The winners on TOUR have been Johnson, D (28), Henley (24), Gay (41), Woods FOUR times (37), Mickelson (42), Snedeker (32), Merrick (30) Kuchar TWICE (34),Thompson, M (27) Brown (29), Streelman (34), Points (36), Laird (30), Scott (32), G-Mac (33), Horschel (26), Ernst (22), Bae (26), Weekley (39) English (23), Rose (32), Duke (44) and now Haas (31). The young folks (30 and younger) now have 10 victories; the 30-somethings have racked up 14 victories, and the “old folks” (40 and up) have three wins on the year. Angel Cabrera, 43, finished T13 for the “oldies but goodies” this week but that didn’t cover the T5 for recently-turned 40-year old Stewart Cink.
A look at the players who finished in the top 10
Roberto Castro: He entered the week 38th in ball-striking and 20th in scrambling but the number that was frightening on supposed-slick greens was his total putting, No. 178. Castro was in the upper-third in ball-striking this week but it was his putting, third in strokes gained and 11th in putts per GIR, which put him in a position to win entering Sunday. He made 16 birdies to Haas’s 25 but he only made five bogeys for the week to lead the field. His solo second is his best finish of his career and his first top 10 in 46 career starts. He’s been close before as he opened with 63 at Humana but faded with 72 on Sunday to finish T37. At THE PLAYERS, he also opened with 63 but backed that up with 78 on Friday before righting the ship for 71-71 on the weekend to finish T18. At Crown Plaza he was five-under heading into the weekend before 73-71 knocked him out of contention. He was also hovering in Memphis before a final round 72 (two-over) knocked him out of the top 10. He’s been close before and this week has shown that he’s learned from his earlier experiences. He turned 28 last weekend and is only in his second season on TOUR. He should be on your list for the rest of the season and into 2014.
D.H. Lee: Stop me if this sounds familiar. Lee entered the week 37th in driving accuracy and 54th in GIR but was 161st in total putting. He led the field this week in driving accuracy but was only T37 (of 77 making the cut) in GIR. So what did he do? Besides flipping off the crowd on Saturday, he made EVERYTHING on the greens. The No. 161 putter on TOUR led the field in strokes gained-putting and putts per GIR. He finished second to Haas with 21 birdies on the week, including nine on Sunday to set the low round of the day and T-low round of the week. D.H. Lee won the PGA Q-School Tournament last season and has won twice on the Japan Tour (2007; 2011) but the T3 this week was the rookie’s best finish on TOUR. His other top 10 was T8 at New Orleans. This payday will double his money on TOUR and boost him up the list from No. 137 on the FedExCup Points list. I’m going to take a wait-and-see approach with Lee just as I do most rookies out here as he’s only had 16 rounds in the 60s in 16 events heading into this week. Plus, he was T51, MC and WD in his last three starts on TOUR so no reason you should have had him this week!
Jason Kokrak: Long off the tee but not the most accurate, Kokrak has hit enough greens this season to find the top 50 (49th) in GIR. This week, he was No. 1 as the bomber hit almost 80% of greens on his way to T3 and his best finish ever on TOUR. It was a bit surprising as well because he sat 154th in total putting heading into this week. I’m not sure what we learned this week. Guys who can’t putt and have barely any experience out here took three of the top four spots and he had missed three of his last four cuts on TOUR. Anyhow, Kokrak has now made the cut in 10 of 18 events this season and has three top 10s. Last year, the rookie made the cut in only 13 of 27 events and had two top 10s so he’s moving in the right direction here in year two.
Stewart Cink: After missing both cuts in his two events in May, Cink responded with T29, MC and T81 in his first three attempts in June so there wasn’t anything jumping off the page for him this week either. Here’s what we learned this week: Ball-strikers, ball-strikers, ball-strikers. He entered the week 24th in GIR and 128 in total putting and it was his ability to hit GIR that was the difference this week as he finished T4. He finished middle of the pack in putting and was T53 in driving accuracy so at least Cink was “normal” this week. He made 18 birdies to post fifth, his best finish since the 2011 T5 at WGC-Accenture Match Play. Cink now has three top 10s this season which is one less than he had from 2010-2012.
Jordan Spieth: Rob and I mentioned that he was one of the “homeruns” this week in our Wednesday chat and he damn-near hit it out of the park this week. After only making one bogey in his first 40 holes and sitting at nine-under, the 19 year old played his final 32 holes in three-over to finish sixth. He thought he might be in with a shout on Sunday as he holed out for eagle on No. 1 and made birdie on No. 3 to get within one shot of the lead. He played his next 12 holes two over before a birdie on No. 16 saw him claim his fifth top 10 in 14 events this year. His best finish was T2 at Puerto Rico back in March. His calling card, guess what? Yep, ball-striking. This is a recording. He entered the week 40th on TOUR and lived up to it this week as he was seventh in accuracy and T14 GIR. Oh, he entered the week 165th in total putting. This is a recording. Now we know what to look for next year, eh? By the way, Spieth is going to be really, really good. Sure, he’ll have up-and-down weeks but he’s racking up top 10s for fun out here and he’s 19. Mark him down.
Charlie Wi: In 17 events this season, Wi had his best two finishes in his first five weeks. The next 12 events saw Wi miss five cuts and post T33 (on February 17th) as his best finish. In eight events from the beginning of April he made four and missed four weekends and his best finish was T55 (THE PLAYERS). Gamers, he had one big round this week, 65 on Saturday, and his other three were one-over, par and par. That’s not enough to pique my interest based on the facts presented above.
Brian Davis: He’s now made 11 of the last 12 weekends on TOUR including five straight. In those five, Davis has bagged a pair of top 10s with his T8 this week to match his T8 at the Memorial. Davis was Davis this week as he hit fairways and made tons of putts so that tells me he’s playing well and it’s not smoke and mirrors.
Graham DeLaet: For some people, he might have been the only player in Yahoo! Group B to make the weekend. Some people, namely me, didn’t have ANYONE accomplish that feat. I thought putting would have played a bigger part in determining the winner this week but as you have read above, I was sadly mistaken. DeLaet rewarded gamers who rode form over function this week and his T8 should not have disappointed. He’s now 15 of 18 on the season with five top 10s and 10 top 25s. He’s long and he leads the TOUR in GIR. His next step will be finding the next step and getting into the winner’s circle. He has the talent, now, just lose some bogeys.
Morgan Hoffmann: After opening with six bogeys on Thursday, Hoffmann rebounded to only make four more the rest of the weekend to peg his second Sunday in a row in the top 10. Hoffmann finished T9 last week at the Travelers and backed that up with T8 this week at CCC. He also was T5 earlier in the season at HPBNC so the youngster keeps proving his chops on the big boy circuit. Like DeLaet, he’s in wrap up column for the second week in a row. I’m still a little shocked that so many young, inexperienced players were placed so highly this week. Man, these guys are good.
Brandt Snedeker: The big question this week was to play him or Bill Haas in group A in Yahoo! Well, if you had both this week, you should have been happy with the results. This week was solid but not spectacular for Snedeker. His ball-striking was decent and so was his putting. He also joins Horschel and Haas now on seven top 10s in 2013 after his third top 10 in seven events. He’s a class player and will be on this list almost every time he tees it up. I’d love to see him be healthy for an entire season to see how nasty he could get.
James Driscoll: A University of Virginia grad playing well in the D.C. area? Well, that had not been the case here but Driscoll relied on the strengths of his game, his putter and short-game to hit the top 10. His T8 is his best finish of the season and his best finish on TOUR since his solo fifth at the Travelers in 2011. Driscoll was one of the co-54-hole leaders but failed to make a birdie on Sunday as he fired 74. He’s never had more than four top 25s in the last four seasons on TOUR. This was No. 4 of 2013.
“Hey, what ever happened to…”
I take a look back at what happened to the chalk
Adam Scott: The good news is he was T6 with 52 pars on a tough course. The bad news was he only made eight birdies on a tough course. He was T2 in GIR but in the bottom five in both strokes gained-putting and putts per GIR. If the broomstick ain’t sweepin’, Scott ain’t winnin’. The interesting part is we saw plenty of “bad” putters do quite well this week…
Jason Day: After his T2 at the U.S. Open here in 2011 and his T2 in the U.S. Open at Merion, most people thought he would comfortably win this week. He’s known for his length off the tee and his short game and those were on point this week but he just didn’t find enough GIR to give his putter a chance. All of that said, he still finished T21 but his 18 birdies were wiped out by 15 bogeys and a double.
Billy Horschel: I had him in the One-and-Done. Do I need to continue? He made 10 birdies against six birdies. Sadly, he tossed in four doubles and a triple to squash all of that. He didn’t hit many fairways, greens or putts. That’s how you finish T61.
Hunter Mahan: One of the members of the Yahoo! Group B of Death! Mahan had finished T26 or better in his last five starts before MC this week. He’s now 15 of 18 on the season in 2013 and usually goes as far as his putter will carry him. Unlucky.
Charley Hoffman: He made 18 birdies in the FINAL THREE ROUNDS after opening with no birdies and 74. A solid putter, he ended up T7 in GIR as his putter was hit-and-miss yet he played those final three rounds three-under to finish T28. We keep and trying to write Hoffman, one N, off but he’s 14 of 17 on the season and is chugging along.
Scott Stallings: Ok, he’s human. After T4, T4, T2 before the U.S. Open, Stallings finally cooled off with MC this week. Hitting half the fairways and half the greens will do that to a man! Before the stretch mentioned above, Stallings missed four straight cuts on TOUR. This coming week is NOT the week to fade him as he won The Greenbrier Classic in 2011.
Ryan Palmer: He bounced back after MC at the U.S. Open to finish with 69 on Sunday to post T34. He made 16 birdies this week but couldn’t get out his own way at times with a couple doubles and a couple three-hole bogey streaks. He’s having a very solid 2013 and this results doesn’t put me off.
Rotoworld's Rob Bolton and I will be co-hosting a live chat Wednesday at NOON ET at Rotoworld.com. We will be breaking down the field at The Greenbrier Classic and answering your questions. Simply return to the golf home page to join in on the chatter. Don’t forget that you can follow Rob (http://twitter.com/RobBoltonGolf) and Glass (http://twitter.com/GlassWGCL) on Twitter!