x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Hass shot in the water causes a ripple

His astonishing attempt, coupled with some luck, to win at Atlanta should rank among the best.

Bill Haas hits from the water on the 17th hole during a play-off against Hunter Mahan in the Tour Championship.Dave Martin / AP Photo
Bill Haas hits from the water on the 17th hole during a play-off against Hunter Mahan in the Tour Championship.Dave Martin / AP Photo

At the second play-off hole at the Tour Championship in Atlanta on Sunday, Bill Hass slammed his drive into a bunker and then pushed a second shot into water.

With his ball partly submerged beside the green, Hass knew his hopes of picking up the cheque for US$10m (Dh36.7m) for winning the final leg of the FedExCup were sinking fast.

Hunter Mahan, his only rival, was on the putting surface, meaning the 29 year old from North Carolina needed to do something pretty special. As he planted his feet in the water and drew back a pitching wedge, Johnny Miller, the commentator, said: "He will do well to get this to stop 30 feet from the pin."

Hass somehow managed to spin his ball to three feet, holed the putt for four, the same as Mahan. He then won it with a par on the next. It will go down in the pantheon of golf's astonishing shots and may even come out on top.

Bernhard Langer once famously hit a shot from high in a tree; Tiger Woods chipped in at the 16th in the 2005 Masters while Seve Ballesteros conjured up a shot from just about every position on the course during his stellar career.

However, it is difficult to recall any player producing such an exquisite stroke out of the water to keep himself in such a big tournament as Hass did.

"I got an unbelievably fortunate lie, it was basically a bunker shot and it was all or nothing," Hass said.

"There was a bit of luck involved - I got some spin on it, which I didn't know as I hit it - and I was very lucky. I actually thought I hit my second shot OK, and then it drifted wide and I heard the crowd's groans. I feared the worst then."

Mahan, who probably thought the win was his when he saw his playing partner's shot go 15 feet too wide of the green was gracious. "There was a part of me that actually wanted him to get out of trouble because he took on the shot," he said.

"It was an incredible piece of golf and you have to say well done at the end of it. It wasn't just that Bill got the ball out cleanly; he got it to stop as well. I take my hat off to him."

It remains to be seen whether this is a springboard for Hass's career but people certainly won't be forgetting that shot in a hurry.

 

ncameron@thenational.ae