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Tour Championship lifts $10m. man Haas into top 20
September 27, 2011

East Lake GC was the scene for one of the most thrilling finishes in FedEx Cup history as Bill Haas triumphed over fellow American Hunter Mahan on the third playoff hole, to not only take the Tour Championship title, but also the $10 million dollar bonus. He had looked dead and gone on the second playoff hole, the 17th, having hooked his ball into the hazard, but what followed must go down as one of the greatest up and downs in sudden death, pitching the ball from just inside the water to a few feet for his par. They then headed back to 18 for the third extra hole where Mahan found the front bunker and was unable to make his par, leaving Haas with a three footer for ten million dollars, which he duly knocked in. The win is Haas’ third on the PGA Tour, having won twice in 2010, and sees him jump 25 places on the Official World Golf Ranking to 20.

There was even more playoff drama on the European Tour, as England’s Kennie Ferrie beat off competition from fellow countryman Simon Wakefield, to claim his third career title at the Austrian Golf Open presented by Lyoness. It was tight atop the leader board all day as a number of contenders jostled for position, but it was eventually Ferrie who claimed victory at the first playoff hole, when Wakefield failed to make par on 18 and he duly rolled in from six feet for birdie and the title. It is the Englishman’s first win since the 2005 European Open and propels him some 155 places up the ranking to 200.

In yet another playoff this week, American left hander Ted Potter Jr. tapped in on the second extra hole for birdie and his second victory of the season on the Nationwide Tour at the Soboba Golf Classic. Potter triumphed over Andres Gonzales and Miguel Carballo in extra time, having had a 12 footer on the last in regulation for eagle and the win. He would not rue that miss though, and having won the South Georgia Classic in May, finds himself third on the Nationwide Tour money list and up inside the World’s top 200 at 166.

One man able to take victory without the need for extra holes this week was England’s Sam Little, who having not won on the Challenge Tour since 2004, took his second title in two weeks at the ALLIANZ Golf Open du Grand Toulouse. Having won in Russia the week before, Little quickly put himself in contention on Sunday, and after a two shot swing on 13 gave him a one stroke lead, he never looked back. Just two weeks ago he was outside the top 700 in the world and the top 40 on the Challenge Tour money list, but now finds himself second and assured of a return to the European Tour in 2012, as well as climbing some 415 places to 296 in the World.

Japan’s Tetsuji Hiratsuka came from four shots back in the final round of the Asia-Pacific Panasonic Open to take the title by three shots after a four under par final round of 67. The event was co-sanctioned by both the Asian and Japan Golf Tours, and now sees him No.1 and No.5 on the Asian and Japan money lists respectively having claimed his fourth title in Asia and his sixth title in Japan respectively. He also jumped 21 places on the Official World Golf Ranking to 78, having started the year at 65.

The Munsingwear Championship on the Korean Tour was won by Hong Soon-Sang.

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