Nick Watney of the USA fired a superb final round of 67 to win the WGC-Cadillac Championship at TPC Blue Monster in Doral by two strokes from his countryman Dustin Johnson.
Watney began the final day two strokes back of Johnson after he had double bogeyed the treacherous 18th hole in round three. Johnson maintained his advantage for much of the front nine until Watney made four birdies in five holes from the 8th to the 12th to move one ahead.
Johnson rejoined Watney at the top of the leaderboard with a birdie at the 14th but he gave that back with a bogey at the short par 4 16th. The hole was almost driveable for Johnson but he tried to lay up. He pulled his tee shot into a bunker then played his second into a greenside trap from where he failed to get up and down.
Watney stood on the 18th tee with a one shot lead and must have been feeling the pressure given the previous day’s double bogey. It’s one of the most intimidating drives on the golf course with water all down the left side but Watney ripped it down the right half.
“I wasn’t nervous,” Watney said. “I really wanted to take care of business and to grasp this opportunity.”
By firing an excellent approach to within 15 feet then holing a downhill putt for birdie, Watney did grasp his opportunity. It’s the biggest win of his young career and it has lifted him to 15th on the Official World Golf Ranking.
“Top-10 finishes are nice,” Watney said. “But winning is what counts out here, and that’s how you’re measured. To win this tournament against this field, it’s a huge honor. I’m very excited. I’m very proud.”
England’s Luke Donald, looking for a second straight WGC title, went into the final round tied with Watney. But the Englishman couldn’t get it going on Sunday. He posted a level par 72 to finish in a tie for sixth with Adam Scott.
Anders Hansen and Francesco Molinari were the best placed Europeans in a tie for third. Hansen produced a fine run on his back nine with four birdies between the 10th and the 15th. It looked for a time like he would post a highly challenging clubhouse total but the birdies dried up over the last three holes.
Tiger Woods showed he can still produce classy golf with a closing 66. It lifted him into a tie for 10th.
“I showed positive signs for the next time I play, which is a good thing,” he said.
The next WGC event is not until August when the top players will travel to Firestone in Ohio for the Bridgestone Invitational. Hunter Mahan will defend the title there. Mahan had a chance going into the final round at Doral but he played a disappointing closing 18 of 73 to finish alone in ninth.
TPC Blue Monster, Doral, Florida
Mar 10-13, purse $8,500,000, par 72
1 Nick Watney (USA) 67 70 68 67 272 $1,400,000
2 Dustin Johnson (USA) 69 69 65 71 274 $850,000
T3 Anders Hansen (Den) 71 69 68 67 275 $465,000
T3 Francesco Molinari (Ita) 68 68 70 69 275 $465,000
5 Matt Kuchar (USA) 68 69 68 71 276 $350,000
T6 Luke Donald (Eng) 67 72 66 72 277 $271,000
T6 Adam Scott (Aus) 68 70 68 71 277 $271,000
8 Rickie Fowler (USA) 71 73 68 66 278 $200,000
9 Hunter Mahan (USA) 64 71 71 73 279 $175,000
Note: Player in bold signifies Titleist ball usage only
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