Watson leads PGA team to 3-Tour title
Sunday, January 23, 2011
HENDERSON, Nevada – Bubba Watson made an 18-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to cap a comeback victory for the PGA Tour team in the Wendy’s 3-Tour Challenge on Tuesday.
Watson, Dustin Johnson and Boo Weekley finished a combined 14 under in the two-player, best-ball format that allowed each team to discard one score per hole. The group shot 11 under over the final eight holes to overtake the Champions Tour team of Nick Price, Bernhard Langer and Kenny Perry, which finished at 13 under at Rio Secco Golf Club.
The LPGA team of Cristie Kerr, Suzann Pettersen and Natalie Gulbis finished third at 11 under after winning the event last year.
With the PGA Tour team trailing by two heading to the par-5 17th hole, Johnson reached the green in two and made an 8-foot putt for eagle.
“I knew I needed to make something happen on 17,” Johnson said.
Watson followed with a birdie at 17 as the PGA Tour group moved into a tie for the lead, erasing a four-shot Champions Tour lead after 11 holes.
Watson then put his 150-yard approach at the par-4 18th hole in good position on the right side of the hole. He converted the putt and celebrated with a huge fist pump.
“Having a chance to make that putt is something you dream about,” Watson said. “When you actually make it, you don’t know what to do.”
Watson, who enjoyed his best season on the PGA Tour this year with more than $3 million in earnings and his first victory, said he wasn’t thrilled with his second shot.
“My wedge backed up more than I wanted it to, but it was a good uphill putt and I made it,” Watson said.
That forced Langer to hit a 12-footer with huge break to force a playoff, and the putt ran left of the cup.
“I was really high up and had far more break than (Watson),” Langer said.
The PGA Tour won the event for the eighth time, collecting a $500,000 purse in the made-for-TV event featuring three-person teams from the PGA Tour, Champions Tour and LPGA. Both the Champions Tour and LPGA have six wins.
The Champions Tour won $270,000 for its second-place finish and the LPGA took home $230,000 for placing third.
Johnson and Watson each shot 4-under 68, tied with Perry for low individual honors.
Through 11 holes, the PGA Tour looked to be in deep trouble, including Weekley posting an 8 at No. 11. Weekley’s score was cast aside under the new format, keeping the PGA Tour team within striking distance.
“This format is just right,” Watson said. “One guy, one lady, you’re gonna have a bad score. You can throw it out and it makes it more competitive.”