|Bubba Watson celebrates his birdie putt on the 18th green. (AP-Yonhap)|
Two weeks after Watson made a pair of late bogeys in the Phoenix Open, he delivered the best closing round at Riviera in some three decades. Watson played the final 39 holes without a bogey and shot a 7-under 64 on Sunday to win the Northern Trust Open.
It was his first victory in 22 months and 41 tournaments worldwide dating to the 2012 Masters.
Watson wound up with a two-shot victory over Dustin Johnson, who closed with a 66 for the second straight week and got the same result.
This wasn’t Bubba golf as much as it was simply great golf.
Watson, who also shot 64 on Saturday to start the final round four shots behind William McGirt, made up ground so quickly that he broke out of a four-way tie for the lead with a birdie on the eighth hole and made the turn in 30.
Equally critical were a pair of par saves with 7-foot putts on the 12th and 13th holes.
Johnson, who was second at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am last week after a final-round 66, made birdie on the 15th hole to get within one shot. He didn’t give himself good birdie chances on the last three holes. Watson made a 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th to cap off the best closing round in this tournament since Doug Tewell shot a 63 in 1986. Even sweeter was going up the steps toward the famous clubhouse to see his 2-year-old son, Caleb, whom Watson adopted just before his Masters victory.
Watson finished at 15-under 269, and he wasn’t the only big winner.
Jason Allred, who went to college up the coast at Pepperdine, played bogey-free for a 68 and tied for third with Brian Harman, who also had a 68. Allred was a Monday qualifier, and this was his first regular PGA Tour event since he last had his card in 2008.