Bubba’s back, Watson wins Genesis Open at Riviera

Watson claimed his third Genesis Open title at Riviera and his 10th PGA Tour victory

Bubba Watson claimed his third Genesis Open title
Bubba Watson claimed his third Genesis Open title
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Bubba Watson won again on the PGA Tour for the first time in two years, claiming his third Genesis Open title at Riviera Country Club.

Bubba’s back, Watson wins Genesis Open at Riviera

Bubba Watson fired a closing round of 69 to win the Genesis Open at Riviera by two shots from fellow Americans Kevin Na and Tony Finau. Watson finished the week on a four-round score of 12-under-par.

Watson took the lead going into the final round after an excellent third round 65. But Patrick Cantlay had moved to the front of the pack after nine holes of round four. Cantlay stumbled after the turn though, dropping shots after encountering tree-trouble on the 12th and 13th holes.

Watson made a couple of key saves on those same holes before the 14th proved to be pivotal. Watson tried to fade the ball in towards a pin on the left side of the green but overdid it and found a bunker. He fired out from the hazard, the ball struck the pin and disappeared into the hole. At that point, his lead was extended to two.

The bunker shot:

The two-time Masters champion made steady pars on the next two and then two-putted for birdie on the 17th. Another safe par on the final hole saw him lifting the trophy.

Bubba Watson last won on the PGA Tour in the Genesis Open of 2016. This was his third victory in the event. Ben Hogan and Lloyd Mangrum are the only other three-time winners at Riviera. This was Watson’s 10th Tour title.

"My goal has always been to get 10 wins. So many emotions going through my head right now," said the 39-year-old as he held back tears. "You never know if you're going to play good again. You never know if you're going to lift the trophy."

Bubba after the win:

With the win Watson has moved to 41st on the Official World Golf Ranking and has earned a place in the WGC-Mexico Championship.

Bubba Watson holed out from a bunker on the 14th

Bubba Watson holed out from a bunker on the 14th

Kevin Na and Tony Finau ended the week tied second with Scott Stallings and Patrick Cantlay in tied fourth. All four had a chance to win but all four came up just shy of Bubba’s four-round total of 12-under.

Phil Mickelson enjoyed another good week and had a chance to win. He reached nine-under through 14 holes and was only one back. But he dropped a couple of shots after that and finished in a tie for sixth. Mickelson has finished in the top-10 on each of his last three starts.

“I’m playing well enough to compete week in and week out now,” Mickelson said. “Now it’s just a matter of a shot here or there, the difference between winning and not, as opposed to kind of finding my game. I’m not searching anymore.”

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth were among those who tied for ninth place.

Genesis Open Riviera CC, Pacific Palisades, California Feb 15-18 Purse: $7,200,000 Par: 71

1 Bubba Watson (USA) 68 70 65 69 272 $1,296,000 T2 Kevin Na (USA) 68 70 67 69 274 $633,600 T2 Tony Finau (USA) 66 71 68 69 274 $633,600 T4 Scott Stallings (USA) 71 68 68 68 275 $316,800 T4 Patrick Cantlay (USA) 66 69 69 71 275 $316,800 T6 Adam Hadwin (Can) 70 74 66 66 276 $241,200 T6 Phil Mickelson (USA) 70 71 67 68 276 $241,200 T6 Cameron Smith (Aus) 72 68 65 71 276 $241,200 T9 Jordan Spieth (USA) 71 70 69 67 277 $180,000 T9 Martin Laird (Sco) 68 73 68 68 277 $180,000 T9 Xander Schauffele (USA) 71 70 68 68 277 $180,000 T9 Ryan Moore (USA) 68 68 71 70 277 $180,000 T9 Justin Thomas (USA) 69 71 67 70 277 $180,000

Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly. 

Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?