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Bubba Watson claims two-shot Genesis Open victory, first PGA Tour win in two years

February 18, 2018

Bubba Watson came to the greenside bunker at the par-3 14th hole clinging to the lead at the final round of the Genesis Open, with five players lurking just one shot back.

Then his bunker shot clanked off the dead center of the pin and dropped in for birdie and a two-shot lead.

From there, it seemed easy for Watson, who made all pars and one two-putt birdie the rest of way for a two-shot victory, his first win in two years.

An emotional Watson broke down after the round.

“You never know if you’re going to play good again, you never know if you’re going to be able to lift the trophy again,” he told CBS.

Watson finished the tournament at 12-under 272, two shots clear of runners-up Kevin Na and Tony Finau. Scott Stallings and Patrick Cantlay were one shot further back in a share of fourth place.

Phil Mickelson was in the group at 8-under in a share of sixth.

A wild fourth round saw the lead change hands several times. Cantlay took a share of the lead and then claimed it outright. Ryan Moore held a share of the lead at one point as well, before fading with late bogeys. Kevin Na birdied 9, 10, and 11 to get to 11 under par and the outright lead.

In the end, the lead returned to the man who’d possessed it entering the day: Watson. The 54-hole-leader hadn’t won since the same event, then called the Northern Trust Open, at Riviera in 2016. He’d slipped to No. 117 in the world. None of it matter as he holed a clutch par putt on 13 to regain control of the tournament.

Had his bunker shot on 14 snuck by the pin, it would have rolled out several feet, leaving a difficult comebacker for par. The tournament may have ended differently. But this was to be Watson’s day.

Two-putt pars on 15 and 16 maintained Watson’s lead before he throttled a 349-yard drive down the center of the reachable par-5 17th. All that was left by the time he got to 18 was the celebration.