- Associated Press - Sunday, February 19, 2012

LOS ANGELES — Bill Haas wound up making the biggest putt of them all at Riviera.

On the second extra hole of a three-way playoff Sunday — made possible by clutch birdie putts from Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley on the final hole — Haas rolled in a 45-foot birdie putt across the 10th green to win the Northern Trust Open.

Haas closed with a 2-under 69 and won a PGA Tour event for the third straight year.

He was on the practice range at 7-under 277, warming up for a playoff that didn’t look likely. Mickelson and Bradley, the co-leaders going into the final round, were one shot behind on the 18th hole, which had given up only six birdies all day.

With tournament executive director Jerry West “Mr. Clutch” from his days with the Los Angeles Lakers looking on, Mickelson rammed in a birdie putt from just outside 25 feet, pointing his putter and slamming his fist as the gallery packed into the hill below the stately clubhouse let out a cheer that could be heard down Sunset Boulevard.

Mickelson bumped fists with Bradley and told his protege, “Join me.”

That he did. Bradley’s birdie putt from just outside 12 feet took one last, slow turn at the cup and disappeared, setting off another enormous cheer. No one had to tell Haas what was happening.

They started the playoff on the 18th, and Bradley had the best look at birdie with a 15-footer from just off the back of the green that touched the right side of the cup.

It was decided on the 312-yard 10th hole, regarded as the best short par 4 in America, certainly among the most interesting holes in all of golf. It can be reached with a drive, but it’s all about position and none were in a particularly good spot.

Haas went long into thick rough, with enough of the back bunker in his way that he smartly played out to the right and left himself a long birdie putt that at least would assure him par.

Mickelson and Bradley each came up short, a horrible angle. Mickelson’s flop shot landed near the hole and rolled into the back bunker. Bradley was in the bunker, and did well to blast out to 15 feet, just through the green.

Haas ended the suspense with his putt.

Bradley, who closed with a 71, missed his birdie putt after Mickelson, who also had a 71, failed to hole his bunker shot.

“I didn’t think he was going to make that one,” Bradley said. “I should have known, though, because he’s a great putter and a great player.”

Haas, the FedEx Cup champion, captured his fourth career PGA Tour title and moved to No. 12 in the world.

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