Bubba Watson shot back-to-back bogey-free 64s on the weekend to outduel fellow bomber Dustin Johnson and win by two shots Sunday at the Northern Trust Open. Here’s the skinny from the final round at Riviera:
The leaderboard: Bubba Watson (-15); Dustin Johnson (-13); Jason Allred and Brian Harman at -12; Charl Schwartzel (-11)
What it means: For Watson, it’s his first PGA Tour victory since the 2012 Masters. It also redeemed a sloppy closing performance at the Phoenix Open, where the left-hander bogeyed two of the last three holes to lose by one. Since slipping into the green jacket, Watson has played 37 events and posted eight top 10s. Watson’s fifth career victory should move him inside the top 15 in the world rankings.
Round of the day: After a sizzling 64 on Saturday, Watson followed it up with another spectacular 64 – including a closing 13-footer on the last – to win by two shots. Afterward, Watson celebrated the emotional victory with his wife, Angie, and their son, Caleb, behind the 18th green.
Best of the rest: Coming off last week’s T-2 at Pebble Beach, Dustin Johnson again found himself in position to win at Riviera. One shot behind coming down the stretch, Johnson hit the longest drive of the day on the par-5 17th, but his overcooked second shot went crashing into the trees. He barely reached the green with his third shot and two-putted from 50 feet for a deflating par. Then, on the 18th, he had just 138 yards and a pitching wedge into the home hole, but his approach came up 33 feet short of the cup. The ensuing par left him with a final-round 66 and a second consecutive runner-up finish.
Biggest disappointment: It was no surprise, really, that the final threesome of William McGirt (73), George McNeill (71) and Charlie Beljan (73) hardly factored on the last day. Jordan Spieth (71) moved within a shot of the lead at one point as he chased his second victory, but he made four bogeys on the back nine to finish seven shots behind.
Shot of the day: With 166 yards into the final green, Watson stuffed his approach to 13 feet to seal his victory.
Quote of the day: “The whole year is about rejoicing. I’m thinking about how blessed I am to be playing on the PGA Tour. Everything is just gravy right now.” – Watson