Champions Tour


SAVANNAH, Ga. – Jay Haas had an eagle and three birdies down the stretch, winning the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf championship by five strokes over Peter Jacobsen and Craig Stadler on Sunday.

Haas, the Champions Tour rookie of the year in 2005, shot a 5-under 67 for a three-round total of 15-under 201 at The Club at Savannah Harbor, a 7,087-yard layout on an island in the Savannah River.

Jacobsen (67) and Stadler (70) each finished at 206, one shot better than Hale Irwin (68) and two better than defending champion Des Smyth (66).

Haas, who missed the cut last week at the Verizon Heritage, a regular PGA Tour event at nearby Hilton Head, S.C., led all three days of the 54-hole event.

Haas made the turn at even-par but an eagle at the 530-yard par-5 11th, which has always played as the easiest hole on the course, seemed to put a charge in his game. Haas added to his lead with birdies at No. 13, 17 and 18 for his first win this season.

Jacobsen, five shots off the lead to start the day, made a furious charge – including successive birdies at Nos. 9-11 – and briefly was tied with Haas at 10 under. But Haas, playing two holes behind Jacobsen, regained the outright lead with his eagle.

Jacobsen got to 11 under with a birdie at No. 14 but gave that one back with a bogey at the par-3 17th to finish at 10 under.

Stadler, who put an old set of irons back in his bag this week, also struggled down the stretch. His tee shot at No. 17 narrowly missed a nearby lagoon and his bogey there dropped him back to 11 under. Stadler finished with another bogey at the 18th.

Divots: Mark James broke the course record with an 8-under 64. The previous record of 65 was set by Bobby Wadkins in 2003 and matched by Bruce Lietzke (2003), Gil Morgan (2004) and Tom Purtzer (2005). James, who had two eagles while shooting 30 on the front side, finished at 3-under 213. … Liberty Mutual Group and the Champions Tour announced shortly before the tournament ended that the Legends will return to Savannah for the next four years. The 2007 tournament will be played April 20-22. Last year, Liberty Mutual extended its agreement with the tour through 2010. The Legends, which spawned the senior tour 26 years ago, had been played in four different cities and on eight different courses before coming to Savannah in 2003.

AP-ES-04-23-06 1615EDT