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The battle continues

Defending Toshiba champ Jay Haas and Loren Roberts have been familiar foes on the Champions Tour.

February 26, 2008|By Steve Virgen

This year, Roberts is again in the running for the Schwab Cup. He’s fifth, but now it’s Scott Hoch, who is out in front with two wins out of four events. Hoch, who will compete in his second straight Toshiba Classic, also has two top-10 finishes.

Haas is in eighth for the Schwab Cup and he knows it will be a tough climb. But maybe he will look to the Toshiba Classic to help his cause. It certainly aided his successful year in 2007. He won the Toshiba Classic and set a new tournament record, breaking Hale Irwin’s previous mark by two strokes with a 19-under-par 194 (65-64-65).

Now, again at Newport Beach Country Club, Haas will go for another unprecedented feat. He will try to be the Toshiba Classic’s first back-to-back winner.

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It will be difficult with Roberts and Hoch vying as part of an impressive field.

The rest of the top 5 on the Schwab Cup points list will also be on hand, as Fred Funk, who is No. 2 , 2006 Toshiba Classic Champion Brad Bryant, No. 3, and Jerry Pate, No. 4, will be looking to take Haas down. But they’re not the only big names in contention for the $247,500 winner’s check.

Denis Watson, the 2007 Champions Tour Rookie of the Year, is also in the field, looking to capture some of last year’s magic. He was in the top four in the Charles Schwab Cup and Champions Tour money list rankings in 2007.

In addition to the new, the Toshiba Classis also has the old, or rather, experienced and highly decorated. That’s the case because Gary Player, 72, is also scheduled to compete.

Player, who won three Masters, three British Opens and two PGA Championships, is back to the tournament for the first time in five years and will be playing in his sixth Toshiba Classic.

It’s not all about the Haas-Roberts rivalry, but more than likely, the two will be linked at the Toshiba Classic.

For the past two years on the Champions Tour, Haas and Roberts have been connected. They share a strong respect for on another.

“I’m a fan,” Haas said, talking about Roberts, who also has admiration for Haas. Roberts was actually happy that Haas took home the Schwab Cup in ‘06, calling him a good guy. That’s not to say Roberts won’t try to take this Toshiba Classic away from Haas.


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