Originally created 02/03/03

Weir stays steady to win Hope Classic



LA QUINTA, Calif. -- Mike Weir, who stayed steady down the stretch while Jay Haas and Tim Herron shot themselves into trouble, won the Bob Hope Classic on Sunday.

Weir shot a closing 5-under par 67 to finish at 30-under 330 and two strokes in front of Haas, who was tied for the lead until he hit into the water in front of the 18th green.

It was the second year in a row Haas, the 1988 Hope champion, held the lead only to lose it late in the final round, this time despite shooting a 69.

Herron, four shots ahead of Weir and Haas heading into the final round of the five-day tournament, struggled to a 75 that that included a quadruple bogey on No. 16.

He finished tied for third at 25 under with Chris DiMarco, who shot 70.

The win by Weir, a native of Sarnia, Ontario, marks the sixth straight tour event won by a foreigner, dating back to the final two tournaments of last year.

PGA officials believe foreign players have never won six tour tournaments in a row, and the last time foreigners took the first four events of the year was in 1927 when Tommy Armour and Bobby Cruickshank of Scotland each won twice to begin the season.

Haas' shot was short as he went for the green over the water on the 543-yard, par-5 No. 18. Then Weir, who had hit his second shot into the fairway, knocked his third shot onto the right fringe of the green and drilled a 35-foot birdie putt into the center of the cup.

Haas took a bogey because of the penalty stroke when he hit into the water.

Weir, who trailed Haas by three shots at the turn, caught him by making a short birdie putt on No. 17 to go 29 under while Haas took a par on the hole.

Playing conditions were ideal for the first four days of the 90-hole tournament, but gusting winds early in the day made club selection difficult for much of the final round.

David Gossett matched par to finish fifth at 24 under, and defending champion Phil Mickelson, who came on strong after an opening 70, had a 67 to finish in a tie with Pat Perez for sixth at 23 under. Perez shot 71.

Herron's troubles on the 364-yard, par-4 No. 16 ran the gamut of hazards - sand, rocks and water - as he took eight shots to get down.

He hit his tee shot into the bunker, wedged his next shot under a large rock, took a penalty, then hit over the green and into the water. After another penalty, he pitched to within 15 feet of the hole, but his putt from there curled just over the rim of the cup, and he finally putted out.

Last year, Haas led the Hope at 26 under with eight holes to go, but bogeyed No. 13 to start a slide that wound up in a 74 that dropped him into a tie for 16th.

Divots: The winners of the year's first four tournaments have an aggregate score of 100 under par. Ernie Els was 31 under at the Mercedes and 16 under at the Sony Open, and Vijay Singh was 23 under at Phoenix. ... Peter Jacobsen, the 1990 champion, was in the final round for a Hope record 22nd time. Raymond Floyd had made the cut 21 times. The 48-year-old Jacobsen, who has played in the event 25 times, shot a closing 83 to finish far back in the pack at 10 under. ... Singer Alice Cooper, one of the celebrities in the pro-am the first four days of the tournament, said he would like to see the pros react more with the fans, like Fuzzy Zoeller, Chi Chi Rodriguez and Lee Trevino did, saying the tour could use some more "characters."