Watson storms to win at Northern Trust Open
02/16/2014 5:36 PM
02/16/2014 7:07 PM
Pacific Palisades, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Bubba Watson fired his second straight 7-under 64 on Sunday to claim a 2-stroke victory at the Northern Trust Open.
Watson earned his fifth career PGA Tour victory and first since the 2012 Masters at 15-under-par 269.
"I've been playing well, been hitting the ball really well and been working on my putting a little bit," said Watson. "It's been 10 years since I've changed irons and I finally went to the (Ping) S55s and somehow my bad shots turned out good, so it worked out this week."
Dustin Johnson carded a 5-under 66 during his final round at Riviera Country Club to jump into second place at 13-under 271.
Brian Harman (68) and Jason Allred (68) shared third at 12-under, while Charl Schwartzel (68) captured fifth at minus-11.
Third-round leader William McGirt stumbled to a 2-over 73 on Sunday to fall into a tie for sixth place with Matt Every (67), George McNeill (71) and Bryce Molder (67) at 10-under 274.
McGirt entered the final round with a 2-stroke lead at 12-under and opened the day with a birdie at the first to maintain that advantage. Charlie Beljan also birdied the first to move to minus-11.
Watson, meanwhile, capped a run of three birdies over a four-hole stretch from the first with a 16-foot putt at the fourth to also pull within two of the lead.
The group of players tied for second place would eventually reach five before Watson recovered from an errant tee shot into a greenside bunker at the par-3 sixth by holing out his second shot to meet McGirt at 12-under.
McGirt had bogeyed the second to lose his 2-shot advantage.
The top of the leaderboard remained congested when Harman birdied the sixth and Schwartzel converted a 22-foot birdie putt at the eighth to make it a four-way tie for the lead.
Watson then jumped ahead for good with a 16-foot birdie putt at the eighth as Harman bogeyed the 10th and McGirt bogeyed the ninth to fall off the pace.
Watson picked up another shot at the 11th to claim a 2-stroke lead at 14-under before Johnson, who recorded birdies at Nos. 1, 7 and 9 during an outward 32, followed an 8-foot birdie effort at the 11th with a short birdie putt at the 15th to pull within a shot of the lead.
Watson gave Johnson a chance to claim a share of the lead with a streak of six straight pars, but Johnson closed his round with a trio of pars and Watson converted a 14-foot birdie putt at the last to close out the win.
"I had a chance there on the back nine today and I just didn't really have good luck on 16, 17 and 18 to give myself a chance," Johnson said. "But I was still right there and that's all you can ask for."
NOTES: Watson was the only player in the field to not have a bogey on the weekend ... Schwartzel has not recorded a win since claiming the title at the 2011 Masters ... Allred, who was making his 58th career start on tour, earned his first career top-10 finish ... Johnson also finished in second place last week at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am ... Watson has come from behind in four of his five career wins ... Six of the last seven events on the schedule have been won by one stroke.
Join the Discussion
The Wichita Eagle is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.