WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — Two golfers headed to the Greenbrier Classic enjoyed winning Sundays laced with redemption.
At Bethesda, Md., Bill Haas won the AT&T National by a three-stroke cushion, enjoying the satisfaction of a strong finish almost as much as the $1.17 million payout.
Meanwhile, at the Senior Players Championship in Pittsburgh, Kenny Perry claimed his first Champions Tour major by shooting a 6-under 64 to surpass Fred Couples.
Both are scheduled to be in West Virginia this week as the fourth Greensbrier Classic convenes on The Old White TPC course.
“They’re riding some momentum into this week and we’re happy to see how they hang with The Old White,” said Greenbrier Classic tournament director Monte Ortel.
Haas earned his fifth PGA Tour victory and took the sting off his self-described choke at the Northern Trust Open on Feb., 17 at Riviera. In that event, Haas struggled through five bogeys during a seven-hole stretch that cost him a chance to join a playoff.
“As many times as I’ve choked and hit bad shots and I’ve been nervous and it hasn’t worked out—I was feeling all those things today—and to hit good, quality golf shots down the stretch is such a good feeling,” Haas said. “I wish I could explain it.”
Haas climbed from 26th to No. 7 in the FedEx Cup standings.
The 52-year-old Perry erased some ill memories of his own by sinking 15 birdies over a brilliant weekend at Fox Chapel.
Fans sometimes overlook that Perry has earned more than $31 million as a pro, focusing instead on the final-hole lead that got away at the 1996 PGA Tournament at Valhalla. Then there’s the even more painful falter at the Masters in 2009, when he led by two strokes on No. 17 before slipping into a playoff he ultimatelylost to Angel Cabrera.
As recently as May, Perry led the Senior PGA after three rounds before being passed by Kohki Idoki.
“I thought I was snakebit,” said Perry, who won $405,000. “I got close so many times and I just seemed to mess up down the homestretch and not make it happen.
“I’m hoping the floodgates are going to open. But I don’t know, anytime you get into contention you get nervous, you get antsy. But today I had a peace about me. If I can kind of draw upon this the next time I get into the heat of things hopefully I’ll finish it off like I did today.”