Haas is first two-time winner of Knoxville Open

Haas is first two-time winner of Knoxville Open

Hunter Haas shows off his winner's trophy after becoming the first golfer to win two Knoxville Opens. Hunter Haas shows off his winner's trophy after becoming the first golfer to win two Knoxville Opens.

June 18, 2006

FARRAGUT (Sports Network) -- Hunter Haas carded a three-under 69 Sunday, his fourth round in the 60s this week, to win the Knoxville Open by five strokes. Haas, who also won this crown in 2004, ended the event at 19-under- par 269.

"This is a great feeling," said Haas, who picked up $85,500 for the win. "Having the fortitude to know that you can win is huge."

Gary Christian fired a six-under 66 to jump into a tie for second at 14-under- par 274. He was joined there by Parker McLachlin, who closed with a 69. Brendon de Jonge (65), Franklin Langham (67) and Brenden Pappas (73) were one stroke further back at minus-13 at Fox Den Country Club.

Haas birdied the par-five first for the fourth straight day. However, he gave that stroke right back as he bogeyed No. 2. He carded birdies on four and eight to move to 18-under par.

"My confidence was a little iffy until I made the 10-foot par putt on the ninth hole," Haas admitted. "Then I wasn't really relaxed until I birdied Nos. 12 and 13 to push the lead to six shots."

The 28-year-old's lead was shrinking, but he put the event away with back-to- back birdies from the par-four 12th. After a pair of pars, Haas faltered to a bogey at the par-three 16th. He closed with two pars to win with ease.

"I didn't want to jinx myself and talk about how I thought I was going to win this week, but I felt good all week," stated Haas. "I feel comfortable with this golf course. I usually play well in June and this tournament happens to fall in June. Maybe it's the heat. I grew up playing on this type of grass and in this kind of heat."

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Christian, whose best tour finish was a tie for 13th at 1999 Inland Empire Open, also birdied the par-five first for the fourth straight round to move to nine-under. He ran off four straight birdies from the par-five fifth to fly up the leaderboard.

The Englishman cooled with four straight pars. He dropped in a birdie on the par-three 13th before parring his final five holes.

McLachlin got going with birdies at one and three to move to 14-under. After a birdie on nine, he tripped to a bogey on No. 10.

The native Hawaiian bounced back with consecutive birdies from the 11th to move to 15-under. McLachlin, whose best finish was a tie for second earlier this year at the Panama Championship, faltered to a bogey on the 15th.

McLachlin fell further down the leaderboard with a double-bogey five on the par-three 16th. He recovered those strokes with birdies at the final two holes to share second place.

"I got to 15-under and thought I might be close," McLachlin said. "But I looked at the scoreboard and Hunter was at 20-under and I thought 'Geez.' He was just too good this week. There wasn't much we could do."

Jim Rutledge closed with a five-under 67. That helped him move into a tie for seventh place at 12-under-par 276. He ended alongside Boo Weekley, Matt Hendrix and Jason Caron.

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