Bubba Watson came through a sudden-death playoff against fellow American Webb Simpson to win the Zurich Classic of New Orleans at TPC Louisiana in Avondale.
The flamboyant left-hander fired a closing round of 69 that featured a double bogey at the ninth hole, it left Simpson two shots in the clear. The 32-year-old Watson bounced back superbly from that setback, however, and he reeled in Simpson over the closing stretch and the pair ended tied on 15-under-par.
Simpson could have won the tournament outright had it not been for a slice of misfortune on the 15th. Addressing his ball less than a foot from the hole it moved slightly and he incurred a one-stroke penalty as a result. Simpson thought that the windy conditions and dry greens caused it to shift. Had it not been for that he could well have won the tournament in regulation play.
“I better limit my comments on that rule, because I think it’s such a bad rule,” said Simpson. “When the wind or other natural things affect the golf ball, the player shouldn’t be penalized.”
As it was, extra holes were required. Both players birdied the first sudden-death hole then on the second – the par-5 18th – Watson’s drive narrowly avoided going in the water, ending in a fairway bunker. He fired a superb shot from the sand on to the green. Simpson’s second found a greenside bunker and, when he failed to get up-and-down, Watson had two putts for the victory. He duly took them and secured his second win of 2011. He has moved to 10th place on the Official World Ranking as a result.
Zurich Classic of New Orleans
TPC Louisiana, Avondale, Louisiana
Apr 28 – May 1, purse $6,400,000, par 72
1 Bubba Watson (USA) 66 68 70 69 273 $1,152,000
2 Webb Simpson (USA) 68 69 67 69 273 $691,200
T3 K.J. Choi (Kor) 68 71 67 69 275 $332,800
T3 Jason Dufner (USA) 68 69 72 66 275 $332,800
T6 Matt Jones (Aus) 66 71 69 70 276 $222,400
T6 George McNeill (USA) 71 70 65 70 276 $222,400
T8 Greg Chalmers (Aus) 72 69 67 70 278 $172,800
T8 Luke Donald (Eng) 68 71 70 69 278 $172,800
T8 David Mathis (USA) 70 68 72 68 278 $172,800
T8 Billy Mayfair (USA) 69 70 72 67 278 $172,800
T8 Andres Romero (Arg) 72 71 67 68 278 $172,800
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage only
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