February 20, 2012 in Sports

Long birdie putt defeats Mickelson, Bradley

 

Bill Haas wound up making the biggest putt of them all at Riviera in Los Angeles.

On the second extra hole of a three-way playoff Sunday – made possible by clutch birdie putts from Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley on the final hole – Haas rolled in a 45-foot birdie putt across the 10th green to win the Northern Trust Open.

Haas closed with a 2-under 69 and won a PGA Tour event for the third straight year.

He was on the practice range at 7-under 277, warming up for a playoff that didn’t look likely. Mickelson and Bradley, the co-leaders going into the final round, were one shot behind on the 18th hole, which had given up only six birdies all day.

Mickelson rammed in a birdie putt from just outside 25 feet, pointing his putter and slamming his fist as the gallery packed into the hill below the stately clubhouse let out a cheer that could be heard down Sunset Boulevard. Bradley’s birdie putt from just outside 12 feet took one last, slow turn at the cup and disappeared, setting off another enormous cheer.

They started the playoff on the 18th, and Bradley had the best look at birdie with a 15-footer from just off the back of the green that touched the right side of the cup.

It was decided on the 312-yard 10th hole.

Haas went long into thick rough, with enough of the back bunker in his way that he smartly played out to the right and left himself a long birdie putt that at least would assure him par.

Mickelson and Bradley came up short. Mickelson’s flop shot landed near the hole and rolled into the back bunker. Bradley was in the bunker, and did well to blast out to 15 feet.

Haas ended the suspense with his putt.

Bradley missed his birdie putt after Mickelson failed to hole his bunker shot. Mickelson and Bradley shot 71.

Haas, the FedEx Cup champion, captured his fourth career PGA Tour title and moved to No. 12 in the world.

Mickelson, who rallied from six shots behind with a 64 to win last week at Pebble Beach, was trying to become the first player since Tiger Woods in August 2009 to win back-to-back on the PGA Tour.

LPGA

Top-ranked Yani Tseng successfully defended her LPGA Thailand title for her 13th LPGA Tour victory, birdieing the final two holes to hold off playing partner Ai Miyazato by a stroke.

The 23-year-old Taiwanese star shot a 6-under 66 to finish at 19-under 269 on Siam Country Club’s Pattaya Old Course in Chonburi. She opened with a 73, then shot consecutive 65s to enter the final round a shot behind Miyazato.

On the par-5 18th, Tseng hit her 104-yard approach to tap-in range after Miyazato also hit close.

Last year, Tseng won the tournament for the first of her seven 2011 LPGA Tour victories, including major victories in the LPGA Championship and Women’s British Open. The five-time major champion finished the year with 12 worldwide victories. She has 33 career worldwide professional victories.

Miyazato, the Japanese player who won the 2010 tournament, closed with a 68. She also birdied the par-4 17th and par-5 18th. South Korea’s Jiyai Shin, tied for the lead with Tseng after a birdie of her own on 17, had a 67 to finish third at 17 under.

Wendy Ward of Edwall, Wash., finished at 291.

Champions Tour

Kenny Perry won the ACE Group Classic for his second Champions Tour title, beating 2011 winner Bernhard Langer by five strokes.

After opening with rounds of 64 and 62 to break the tour’s 36-hole record at 18-under 126, Perry closed with a 2-under 70 on The TwinEagles Club’s Talon Course in Naples, Fla. Perry finished at 20 under to match the tournament scoring record that Langer set last year at The Quarry.

Langer eagled No. 17 for the third straight day in his 70.

Perry tied Allen Doyle’s 1999 tournament mark for the largest margin of victory. Perry had 24 birdies, two short of the tour record for a 54-hole event.


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