Bubba Watson closed with a pair of 64s to win the Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club in California by two shots over fellow American Dustin Johnson.
Watson played the final 39 holes without a bogey, completed the weekend’s golf in 14-under-par and finished the week on 15-under-par to record his first PGA Tour victory since the U.S. Masters of 2012.
“You never know when your last win is going to be,” he said. “Mine could have been The Masters and that would have been a great way to go out. But winning here is nice. You just keep plugging along and somehow, today it fell in my lap.”
Not that the left-hander was gifted the title. He began the final round four shots behind William McGirt, but he quickly made up the deficit and held the lead after nine holes, having raced to the turn in just 30 strokes.
He held on well through the back nine with par saves at the 12th and 13th holes, and a great recovering bunker shot on the 15th. Dustin Johnson had a chance to apply pressure but missed birdie chances on the last three greens.
“I was right there and that’s all you can ask for,” he said. “14-under-par on the weekend is tough to beat.”
Jason Allred, who tied for third, picked up the biggest cheque of his professional career. A Monday qualifier, Allred hadn’t played a PGA Tour event since losing his card in 2008. He is now exempt into the Honda Classic in two weeks time.
South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel finished in fifth spot and will take confidence from that as the top players head to Arizona next week for the WGC-Accenture Match Play.
Northern Trust Open
Riviera Country Club, Pacific Palisades, California
Feb 13-16, purse $6,700,000, par 71
1 Bubba Watson (USA) 70 71 64 64 269 $1,206,000
2 Dustin Johnson (USA) 66 70 69 66 271 $723,600
T3 Jason Allred (USA) 73 64 67 68 272 $388,600
T3 Brian Harman (USA) 67 69 68 68 272 $388,600
5 Charl Schwartzel (RSA) 69 68 68 68 273 $268,000
T6 Matt Every (USA) 69 69 69 67 274 $216,913
T6 William McGirt (USA) 69 67 65 73 274 $216,913
T6 George McNeill (USA) 69 68 66 71 274 $216,913
T6 Bryce Molder (USA) 69 69 69 67 274 $216,913
T10 Harris English (USA) 70 69 69 67 275 $174,200
T10 Bendan Steele (USA) 68 71 67 69 275 $174,200
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage
European Tour – Thomas Aiken wins Africa Open