If any doubts crept in about Bubba Watson’s greatness during his difficult last few years on the PGA Tour, he put them to bed on Sunday at the Genesis Open, posting a final-round two-under 69 to capture his 10th career victory, and his third at Riviera Country Club. He joins Ben Hogan and Lloyd Mangrum as the only players to win three times at Riviera.
“My goal has always been to get 10 wins, and so, this got to my 10th win,” a teary-eyed Watson said. “There’s so many emotions going through my head right now, never know if you’re going to play good again, never know if you’re going to be able to lift a trophy again.
“So many things, I thought about retirement. I mean there’s just so much stuff going through my head right now. I can’t believe I’m going to lift the trophy.”
Similar to his long road back to the top, Watson’s final round had its share of obstacles, like bogeys at the third, sixth and ninth holes that led to a one-over 36 on the front nine and dropped him to nine under. But he went into full Bubba mode on the home nine, smashing drives and shaping shots in every direction en route to a three-under 33 to close the door, giving him his first win since 2016, which also came at the Genesis Open.
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Tony Finau and Kevin Na, who each posted two-under 69s, finished two back at 10-under 274.
Patrick Cantlay was in the mix for most of the day, even getting to 11-under with a birdie at the par-5 11th, but he followed that with two straight bogeys to fall to nine under, where he would finish after shooting an even-par 71. He was joined in a tie for fourth by Scott Stallings, who carded his third straight three-under 68, giving him back-to-back top-10 finishes.
For the third straight week, Phil Mickelson produced some final-round heroics, getting to within a shot of the lead with a chip-in birdie at the par-4 12th, his fifth of the day. Back-to-back bogeys at 15 and 16 ended his rally, and he finished with a three-under 68 to tie for sixth at eight-under 276. After a three-week run of T-5 at the Waste Management, T-2 at Pebble Beach and this week’s T-6, Mickelson knows he’s getting closer to ending his win drought.
“My game is now sharp enough to win, sharp enough to get me in contention week in and week out,” he said.
Jordan Spieth (67) and Justin Thomas (70) tied for ninth at seven-under 277. World No. 1 Dustin Johnson struggled, finishing with a two-over 73 that dropped him into a tie for 16th at four-under 280.