Bubba Watson captured his third victory at Riviera, seizing control Sunday with two par putts as everyone around him was dropping shots, then pulling ahead by holing a bunker shot on the par-3 14th hole. He closed with a 2-under 69 for a two-shot victory over Kevin Na and Tony Finau in the Genesis Open in Los Angeles.
It was Watson’s first victory since he won the Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club two years ago, rising to No. 4 in the world.
Watson showed up this year at No. 117, coming off a year filled with so many doubts that he says he discussed retirement with his wife many times.
Instead, he joins Ben Hogan and Lloyd Mangrum as three-time winners at Riviera. Hogan’s wins include a US Open.
Na hit a wedge close to perfection from the worst angle on the reachable par-4 10th hole for a birdie and two-putted for birdie on the 11th to briefly take the lead. He fell back with consecutive bogeys from the trees and shot 69. Finau’s last chance was an eagle putt on the 17th that stopped inches short.
Patrick Cantlay had a one-shot lead going to the back nine until he ran into tree trouble on the 12th and 13th holes. The UCLA alum could do no better than pars the rest of the way for a 71 to tie for fourth with Scott Stallings (68).
Phil Mickelson also was in the hunt. He was within one shot of the lead when he hit a 4-iron from a deep bunker on the 15th hole to just right of the green. But he went after birdie and saw the ball roll 20 feet down the hill, leading to bogey. Mickelson (68) tied for sixth.
Watson once jokingly said he would retire if he reached 10 PGA Tour victories, though this should only motivate him more, especially with the Masters closing in.
‘‘My goal has always been to get 10 wins. So many emotions going through my head right now,’’ Watson said, choking back tears. ‘‘You never know if you’re going to play good again. You never know if you’re going to lift the trophy.’’
He ended 12-under 272 and moved to No. 41 in the world, which makes him eligible for the World Golf Championship in Mexico City in two weeks.
LPGA — Jin Young Ko shot a 3-under 69 to clinch a 3-shot, start-to-finish win in the Women's Australian Open at Adelaide.
Playing in her first tournament as a full LPGA member, Ko shot 65, 69, 71, 69, to lead after all four rounds and finish with a 14-under 274 at the Kooyonga Golf Club. She is the first player to win her first tournament as an LPGA member in the tour’s 67-year history.
Ko started the day four shots clear of Hannah Green, who was bidding to become the first Australian to win her national crown since Karrie Webb won the last of her five titles in 2014.
Green shot 69, missing a birdie on 18 which cost her a share of second place. She ended third at 10-under, one shot ahead of Katherine Kirk, who had a day’s best 7-under 65.
The stiffest challenge came from Ko’s South Korean compatriot Hyejin Choi, who closed within a shot at the turn, carding four birdies on her first nine holes.
Champions — Joe Durant birdied the final two holes, and got help from Steve Stricker, to win the PGA Tour Champions' Chubb Classic in Naples, Fla. Durant shot a 5-under 67 for a four-stroke win over Stricker, David Toms, Lee Janzen, Billy Mayfair, and Tim Petrovic.
Tied with Durant with two holes left, Stricker dropped a stroke back when Durant birdied the par-5 17th. On the par-4 18th, Stricker hit into the water and made a double bogey for a three-shot swing.
Durant closed with a 15-footer to finish at 19-under 197 on TwinEagles’ Talon course. He was safely on the 18th green when Stricker — needing birdie to tie — hit into the water.
European — Joost Luiten won the inaugural Oman Open in Muscat, to break a title drought of nearly 17 months. The 32-year-old Dutchman shot a 4-under 68 to finish 16-under 272, two shots ahead of England's Chris Wood (69).
Luiten started with three birdies in his first four holes, but bogeys on the seventh and eighth set him back. On the back nine, he made three birdies.