5 Things: Watney's brilliant 61 nets him CIMB title

Nick Watney

Nick Watney

Nick Watney was the second player this weekend to come to the The Mines Resort’s 18th hole needing birdie to fire 59. Both Watney and Bo Van Pelt fell short of golf’s magic number, but Watney’s stellar round was enough for him to win the CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Watney's 10-under 61 on Sunday gave him a one-shot victory over defending champion Bo Van Pelt and Robert Garrigus. Watney finished at 22-under 262 (71-65-65-61).

Here’s 5 Things to take away from the week that was in Malaysia:

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1. IN THE NICK OF TIME: Watney started the day four strokes back of the leaders, the long-hitting Garrigus and Van Pelt, who’d flirted with 59 one day earlier. Watney opened the front nine with two birdies, then birdied Nos. 6, 8 and 9 en route to a 5-under 30 on the front nine.

Six birdies in a seven-hole stretch starting at No. 11 vaulted Watney past the overnight leaders - Van Pelt and Garrigus - and Chris Kirk, who’d made an early move.

"I got off to a pretty good start. I saw Tiger playing well. I knew Bo was playing well," said Watney. "I didn't really look up until about 13."

It was at 13 when the idea of a 59 started to become a reality. After a birdie at No. 17, all he needed was one more at No. 18. But a pulled drive, a mishit second shot and poor wedge resulted in bogey.

Was it on his mind?

"Very small," said Watney. "It was more about winning."

It was Watney's second victory in the past 90 days. He also won the FedEx Cup Playoffs opener at The Barclays.

• • •

2. SATURDAY NIGHT DIVE: Tiger Woods knew exactly where to point as to why he wasn't hoisting the trophy Sunday night. It came down to a dismal Saturday afternoon that saw him go six holes without a par. He had three bogeys, a double-bogey and two birdies from holes Nos. 12 thru 17.

"(Saturday's) back nine is really what cost me this tournament,” said Woods, who shot 3-over 39 for that nine.

He did show off his old Sunday brilliance, posting a bogey-free 63 and narrowly missing a birdie on the 18th to tie the course record (which Watney would break about 30 minutes later).

For the week, Woods was T-1 in birdies (28), but had seven bogeys (T-21) and a double-bogey (T-12).

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3. BO KNOWS: After a lackluster 1-under 70 to start the tournament, Bo Van Pelt came on strong in his defense of the title, posting rounds of 65-62-66 to finish T-2 with Robert Garrigus. Van Pelt won one week earlier in Australia, beating Jason Dufner by two shots at the European Tour’s Perth International.

The 62 on Saturday was Van Pelt's best competitive round since 2009, and it could have been much better had it not been for a double-bogey on the par-4 18th. For the tournament, Van Pelt had three bogeys and a pair of doubles.

Van Pelt tied Woods for most birdies (28) this week.

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4. CARVING UP THE COURSE: The 48-player field demolished this course. Here are some fun numbers to look at . . .

• Only two players shot an over-par round Sunday (Tom Gillis, 73; Trevor Immelman, 72)

• Only two players finished over par for the tournament (Shaaban Hussin, 1 over; Scott Hend, 3 over)

• The field was a cumulative 521 under par

• The course record was tied three times (Bo Van Pelt, Carl Pettersson and Scott Piercy) and broken once (Nick Watney, 61)

• Nine players broke 70 in all four rounds

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5. SHORT SHOTS: Gaganjeet Bhullar, a two-time winner on the Asian Tour this year, shot weekend rounds of 65-67 to finish at 15 under and in a share of 10th . . . Of the top 23 players in the standings, 15 were from the United States . . . First-round leader Troy Matteson struggled mightily over the weekend, shooting 73-71 to drop to T-33 . . . Jason Dufner - who finished at 13 under - had an ace at the par-3 7th hole Saturday . . . After opening with a 4-over 75, Scott Piercy fired rounds of 68-64-62 to finish T-10 . . . Next up for many will be the WGC-HSBC Champions in China.

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