LA QUINTA, Calif. — Bill Haas pulled ahead with a 20-foot birdie putt on the par-4 16th and parred the final two holes for a one-stroke victory Sunday in the Humana Challenge.
Haas closed with a 5-under 67 for his sixth PGA Tour title and first since the 2013 AT&T National. He won the 2010 event for his first tour victory.
“Honestly, if you would have told me I would have done this last week, I would have laughed at you,” Haas said. “To be here is an unbelievable feeling.”
His father, Jay, won the 1998 tournament. Haas’ great uncle, 85-year-old Bob Goalby, was in the gallery at PGA West’s Arnold Palmer Private Course. Goalby won the 1968 Masters.
Haas was making his first start since November. He took the break to rest his left wrist, fractured in April when he fell down stairs.
“I played a little bit,” Haas said. “I didn’t just put the clubs up.”
Part of a six-man tie for the lead after a par save on the par-3 15th, Haas got to 22-under with the birdie on 16. He two-putted for par from 20 feet on the par-5 18th after pulling off an awkward layup with his ball perched on top of the front lip of a right fairway bunker.
“I’ve been in a tournament where I’ve been maybe one ahead or tied, but not with five or six guys right behind me knowing that if I dump one in the water, I go from winning to finishing 10th,” Haas said.
Matt Kuchar, Charley Hoffman, Brendan Steele, Steve Wheatcroft and Sung Joon Park tied for second. Hoffman and Steele shot 64, Park had a 65, and Kuchar and Wheatcroft 67.
Kuchar bogeyed three of the last four holes Saturday in the third round to fall a stroke back. He birdied No. 17 on Sunday and closed with a par.
“It was pretty disappointing to be that close and not at least birdie the 18th to make Bill try to make birdie to win,” Kuchar said.
Haas kept a share of the lead with the par save on the 131-yard 15th. Short-sided in the left bunker, he blasted to 6 feet.
“That was one of the moments where I knew if I missed that I was going from leading to maybe not even top 10,” Haas said.
After breaking the tie on 16, he missed a 10-foot birdie try on the par-3 17th with a bighorn sheep grazing nearby at the foot of the Santa Rosa Mountains.
On 18, with water on the left, his drive went right and stopped on top of the bunker. Standing in the sand with the ball in dormant grass at nearly waist level, he choked up on an 8-iron and slashed 80 yards down the fairway. That left him 170 yards to the green and he hit safely to the middle.
“I was doing everything I could to not go left. So, what do you do? You go right,” Haas said. “That second shot became pretty key, because I easily could have whiffed it, could have chunked it and moved it 5 yards.”
JIMENEZ TAKES OPENER: In Kaupulehu-Kona, Hawaii, Miguel Angel Jimenez rallied to win the Champions Tour’s season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship, birdieing six of the final nine holes for a one-stroke victory over Mark O’Meara.
The Spaniard closed with a 6-under 66 for his second victory in three career starts on the 50-and-over tour. He won the Greater Gwinnett Championship last year, a week after finishing fourth in the Masters.
In May, he won the Spanish Open at 50 years, 133 days to break his own record as the oldest European Tour champion.