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Bubba Watson wins Northern Trust Open: PGA Tour Golf

February 21, 2014

Watson wins first PGA tournament since he was the 2012 Master's Champion.

It wasn’t “Bubba” golf. It was flawless golf. With a birdie on the 72nd hole of the 2014 Northern Trust Open, Bubba Watson secured his first tournament win since the 2012 Masters Tournament.

Heading into the final day, Watson sat four strokes shy of the lead held by William McGirt at 12-under-par. Behind McGirt were George McNeill and Charlie Beljian, both tied for second place at 10-under-par.

As the final round began one thing is for certain, Watson, the free swinging lefty came to play. Making the turn at 5-under-par, this long hitting, long hair golfer never looked back. On the 11th hole, Watson hit a booming 370-yard drive that set him up to make his 6th birdie on the day and put him one stroke ahead of the field. Sitting on the 18th tee, Watson remained one stroke ahead of Dustin Johnson, at 13-under-par. With a baby fade, Watson hammered his drive down the 18th hole at “Hogan’s Alley,” knocked it close on the approach and drained the putt to seal a two-stroke, 14-under, win over Johnson and ascend to the palisade atop Riviera Country Club. This tournament marked Watson first win in two years as well as his first Northern Trust Open Championship.

Since the beginning of the 1900s, the Northern Trust Open, formally known as the LA Open, has been played on Riviera Country Club. The Riviera Country Club has played host to numerous events including the 1948 U.S. Open where Ben Hogan won his first of four U.S. Open titles. Dubbed “Hogan’s Alley,” the course has hosted some of the most historic events in all of golf. Most notably, Tiger Woods played in his first PGA Tour event as an amateur in 1992 when he entered at the age of 16.

Watson etches his name into the history books as the 2014 Northern Trust Open Champion, but less we forget, two years ago, Watson shocked us all with this trick shot on the second playoff hole of the 2012 Masters Tournament. With a knock down hooked 9-iron, Watson stuck it within 10 feet to claim the title. This was from a spot Jack Nicklaus said “not even [he] could hit it from.” With shots like these, Watson reminds even the worst of golfers: it’s not about hitting the ball perfect every time. It is about seeing the shot and having the confidence to pull it off.

While the PGA Tour season reaches full steam, the FedEx Cup race is beginning to take shape. Jimmy Walker leads the point race this year with 1,793 points after three PGA Tour wins and four, top-10 finishes. Behind Walker is Johnson in second with 1,184 points and Harris English in third with 1,048 points. This week, most notable was Watson’s move up the leaderboard. With the win, Watson jumped from 21st to fifth in the standings with 914 points, one win and three top-10 finishes.

This week the tour heads to Marana, Ariz. for the World Golf Championships – Accenture Match Play Championship. With a win here the champion will punch their ticket to the Masters Tournament; the first and most prestigious Major of the year. The Masters Tournament begins April 9 in Augusta, Ga.

Mike Olszewski
Graphics Editor

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