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303rd time charm for Haas


Jay Haas won his first pro tournament event in the past 12 years on Sunday.
 (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Jay Haas won his first pro tournament event in the past 12 years on Sunday. (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Associated Press

Jay Haas rallied with a 7-under 65 Sunday for his first Champions Tour victory, a two-stroke win at the Greater Hickory Classic in Conover, N.C.

The 51-year-old Haas, who splits time between the PGA Tour and the 50-and-over tour, finished with a tournament-record 16-under 200 at Rock Barn Golf and Spa’s Jones Course. He beat the previous mark of 14 under, set last year by Doug Tewell.

The victory ended Haas’ 12-year, 302-event winless streak in Tour-sanctioned tournaments.

Second-round leader Dana Quigley finished second after a 2-under 70. Loren Roberts moved into the lead early in the third round, but fell off the pace after a triple bogey at No. 6, finishing third at 203 after a 70.

John Harris (66), Don Pooley (66), Jim Thorpe (67), Jerry Pate (67), Tom Wargo (68), 2003 champion Craig Stadler (68) and Tom McKnight (70) finished at 11 under.

Starting the final round three strokes behind Quigley, Haas had eight birdies, five on the back nine, and a bogey in the final round. He became the sixth first-time winner on the Champions Tour this year and 19th different winner overall.

“Each day, I felt like a left a few (strokes) out there,” said Haas, who earned $240,000 for the victory. “But today, I made the putts I needed to make.”

Haas, whose last win came in the 1993 Texas Open, took the lead for good with a birdie on the par-4 16th.

LPGA

Chile’s Nicole Perrot earned her first LPGA Tour victory, rallying from a two-shot deficit to win the Longs Drugs Challenge in Auburn, Calif.

The 21-year-old Perrot, the 2001 U.S. Girls champion, offset three bogeys on the front nine at The Ridge Golf Course with three birdies on the back in an even-par 71. She finished at 14-under 270, one shot ahead of South Korea’s Hee-Won Han (69).

Liselotte Neumann (72) and Catriona Matthew (68) tied for third at 10 under, while Lindsey Wright (70) and Shi Hyun Ahn (67) were another shot back.

Annika Sorenstam didn’t have much to celebrate on her 35th birthday. Starting the day nine stokes off the lead, the Swedish star closed with a 72 and tied for 22nd.

Wendy Ward, of Edwall, Wash., shot a final-round 70 for a 279. She earned $11,500. Tracy Hanson of Rathdrum, Idaho, closed with a 74 for a 290 and $2,175.

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