Win For Bean, Cup To Haas
Bean (left) birdied six of his last nine holes and Haas managed to win the Cup finishing 16th on Sunday.
SONOMA, Calif. (AP) -- Andy Bean breezed through 32 holes of play Sunday to win the Charles Schwab Cup Championship, pulling away from the Champions Tour's best players for a nine-stroke victory over Gene Jones.
After finishing the last 14 holes of the rain-delayed third round, Bean then made six birdies in the first nine holes of a final-round 66 to finish at 20-under 268, blowing away the 29-man field.
Jay Haas also had reason to celebrate after the Champions Tour's final event of the year despite his 16th-place finish at 4-under 284. Haas claimed the Schwab Cup at Sonoma Golf Club for the second time in three years as the winner of the tour's season-long points competition.
Bean earned $442,000 from the $2.5 million purse for his second Champions Tour victory of the season, just the third of his career. Haas claimed a $1 million annuity by winning the Schwab Cup.
Haas won the Schwab Cup despite getting no points Sunday after finishing out of the top 10. Fred Funk and Bernhard Langer, his main competition for the crown, also didn't earn any points.
"It's a little strange," Haas said. "Most of the time when you win something, you beat everybody that week. ... I was real fortunate that nobody right behind me did what they had to do. I guess it's like NASCAR, when the guy that's holding the big major trophy at the end didn't win anything that week."
Langer won the tour's overall scoring title and the Arnold Palmer Award for the Champions' money leader. He was the only player who took home more than $2 million.
Steady rain on Saturday forced the golfers to complete their third rounds Sunday morning, but Bean only added to his slim second-round lead despite intermittent rain in the heart of Northern California's wine country. He then got rolling to begin his fourth round with a string of birdies, burying Jones and playing partner Nick Price, who finished 12 strokes behind Bean in a six-way tie for fifth place at 280.
Bean is in his sixth full season on the Champions Tour after winning 11 PGA Tour events. He had won just once on the senior circuit before this season, earning a previous career-best $240,000 check at the Greater Hickory Classic in 2006 for his first tournament victory of any kind in 20 years.
But Bean followed up his victory last May at the Regions Charity Classic in Alabama with a dominant win in Sonoma despite the bothersome weather.
Bean had played just four holes Saturday before rain blanketed the historic course, leaving standing water on the fairways and slippery greens. Bean began play Sunday under more intermittent rain, but still finished the third round at 14-under 202 with Price as his playing partner.
Bean doesn't like wearing rain gear because it limits his backswing, but the skies cleared enough to allow him to shed it during the third round -- and his comfort quickly became obvious. His run of superb play culminated in a perfect putt off the fringe on the ninth hole. He gave a disbelieving wave to the gallery after glancing at the leaderboard and realizing he probably couldn't be beaten.
Haas has been the Champions Tour's most consistent player for three straight years. He won the Schwab Cup and the Arnold Palmer Award as the tour's money leader in 2006, then claimed Player of the Year honors and another Arnold Palmer trophy last season despite finishing second to Loren Roberts for the Schwab Cup.
Haas wasn't terribly impressive in Sonoma, never emerging from the pack, but was tremendously consistent all season. He had two victories and 15 top-10 finishes -- including four straight to start the season and four more in a row to finish it.
Haas led Fred Funk by just 12 points for the Schwab Cup entering the tournament, but Funk struggled even more mightily than Haas, finishing at even par in a tie for 25th place.