Tuesday 27 September 2016

Bubba Watson earns first win of season in California as Rory McIlory falters

Published 22/02/2016 | 00:26

Bubba Watson won for the second time at the Northern Trust Open
Bubba Watson won for the second time at the Northern Trust Open

Bubba Watson secured his first PGA Tour win of 2016 with a one-shot victory at the Northern Trust Open in California.

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The two-time Masters winner, who held the overnight lead, claimed victory thanks to back-to-back birdies on the 16th and 17th which put him ahead of clubhouse leader Adam Scott and Jason Kokrak on 15 under.

Kokrak, who was playing in the final group with Watson, was within inches of sending it to a play-off as his birdie putt at 18th trickled just wide, meaning Watson's par sealed a second win at the Riviera Country Club following victory there in 2014.

"You never know when your last win is going to be, so for me to come back and pull one out and win in a tough way means a lot and is very special to me and my family," Watson told Sky Sports.

Watson might have been expecting Rory McIlroy to provide his biggest threat, but the world number three faltered badly in the final round and fell out of contention.

Starting two shots behind Watson, McIlroy enjoyed the dream start as he eagled the par-five first but his round went south after that as he hit seven bogeys in his four-over-par 75 which left him nine shots off the pace on six under.

Dustin Johnson finished fourth on 13 under while Scotland's Martin Laird was the highest-placed European in tied 11th after a 69 saw him finish on eight under.

America's Ryan Moore finished in the top 10 and had even more reason to cheer as he produced a superb hole in one on the 16th. Moore's tee-shot on the 166-yard par three landed in the rough on the front of the green and took a kind bounce before rolling into the hole.

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