Watson rallies for another win
Bubba Watson makes his approach shot on the second fairway in the fourth round of the Northern Trust Open golf tournament on Sunday in the Pacific Palisades section of Los Angeles. - AP
Los Angeles - American golfer moves back to number four in the world
Bubba Watson packed plenty of memories from his week in LA. He has a kidney stone as a keepsake. He had a cameo in "Girl Meets World." He received a text Sunday morning from Steph Curry offering shooting tips to Watson's son. And he capped it all with the best memento of all.
"Hold on a second, my trophy is coming," Watson said, interrupting his press conference as the shiny prize was placed on the table next to him.
It wasn't clear if passing the kidney stone or winning the Northern Trust Open was more difficult.
Two shots behind with four holes to play, Watson rallied with flawless golf and a pair of birdies over the last three holes to overtake Jason Kokrak and hold off Adam Scott to win at Riviera for the second time in three years and move back to No. 4 in the world.
All week long, Watson spoke of the importance of making putts at Riviera, and he needed all of them - the 10-footer for par on No. 10 to stay in the game, and a pair of birdies to twice tie for the lead, from 30 feet on No. 11 and from 5 feet on the par-3 16th.
And then he took the lead with a birdie that was pure Bubba.
Both feet came off the ground as he hammered a drive 334 yards on the 582-yard 17th hole, and then he hit 2-iron to the back of the green that led to a two-putt birdie. He closed with a 3-under 68 for a one-shot victory over Kokrak and Scott.
"The highlight is definitely winning," Watson said. "When you come to Hollywood, there's a lot of things you can do. It's fun. And winning is the cake."
It was a bitter taste for Kokrak, going for his first PGA Tour win and making it look like it was his time when he fired at a dangerous pin on the 13th and pulled it off for a short birdie putt that gave him a two-shot advantage.
But he made bogey from the fairway on the 15th, had to scramble for par on the next two holes and narrowly missed a birdie on the 18th that ended his chances.
"You've got to eliminate the mental mistakes," Kokrak said after a 68. "Hitting it in the middle of the green on 15 is just ... I had a two-shot lead at the time."
Scott raced off to a big start with an eagle and three birdies over his opening six holes. He missed a pair of 4-foot par putts on the back nine, only to bounce back with a key birdie on the 17th and a chip-in for birdie from behind the 18th green for a 67 that tied him for the lead, but only briefly.
Watson, two groups behind him, two-putted from 40 feet for his go-ahead birdie.
"A guy like Bubba, he's very tough to beat," Scott said. "He's proving tough to beat from that position. He's wearing the course out on the toughest day." Six players were still in the mix on the back nine until the final few holes.