Bubba Watson ends victory drought with win at Genesis Open

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Bubba Watson ends victory drought with win at Genesis Open

PGA Tour

Bubba Watson ends victory drought with win at Genesis Open

WINNER: Bubba Watson hadn’t won a golf tournament in nearly two years. He had slipped from fourth in the Official World Golf Ranking to 117th. He missed last year’s Presidents Cup, and was only an assistant captain at the 2016 Ryder Cup.

But on Sunday at historic Riviera Country Club, site of Watson’s last PGA Tour win, “Bubba Golf” returned in a big way. Watson won the Genesis Open for the third time with a two-shot victory, his final-round 2-under 69 capping a 12-under week.

Playing in the final group with Patrick Cantlay and Cameron Smith, Watson navigated a tough Riviera layout that didn’t yield many low scores in the final round. He made two bogeys in his first six holes to give up his lead. And he was 1 over on his round at the turn, sitting two shots back of Cantlay at the time.

But Watson went bogey-free on the back nine and his chip-in for birdie at the par-3 14th hole gave him a two-shot lead that he never relinquished.

Earlier in the week Watson seemed more concerned with playing in the NBA All-Star celebrity game Friday night at Staples Center than how he’d finish at Riviera. Watson scored just two points in the basketball game, but returned to Riviera and carded a 6-under 65 to grab the 54-hole lead.

Now, Watson is back in the winner’s circle, he’s sure to rise in the world rankings and he’s greatly improved his chances of returning to the team for this fall’s Ryder Cup in Paris.

JUST MISSED: Cantlay looked to be on his way to his second win of the season late in Sunday’s round. But he bogeyed Nos. 12 and 13 to surrender his lead and his even-par 71 in the final round left him at 9 under and in a share of fourth with Scott Stallings. Kevin Na posted his best finish since he was T-2 at the 2015 Shriners Open by carding a final-round 69 and finishing at 10 under, tied for second with Tony Finua, who closed in 69, as well, and notched his third top-10 finish of the season.

SHOT OF THE DAY: Watson’s chip-in birdie at the par-3 14th was the crucial moment in Watson’s victory on Sunday.

QUOTABLE: “My goal has always been to get 10 wins and so this got (me) to my 10th win. There’s so many emotions going through my head right now: never know if you’re going to play good again, never know if you’re going to life a trophy again, so many things, I thought about retirement; just so much stuff going through my head right now, I can’t believe I’m gonna life a trophy here in a second.” – Watson

SHORT SHOTS: Phil Mickelson fired a closing 3-under 68 to notch his third straight top-10 finish. Lefty had reached 9 under with four holes to play, but bogeyed Nos. 15 and 16 to end his chances of winning. … Jordan Spieth shot a final-round 67 to record his first top-10 since Kapalua. … Defending champion and World No. 1 Dustin Johnson made two doubles Sunday to shoot 73 and finish T-16. … Rory McIlroy rebounded from a missed cut at Pebble with a T-20 showing at Riviera.

UP NEXT: The West Coast Swing is over and that means we’re packing our bags for sunny Florida. First stop on the Florida Swing is the Honda Classic at PGA National. Follow all the action on Golfweek.com and our Facebook and Twitter feeds.


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