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A calmer Watson prevails

Bubba Watson wins the Zurich Classic of New Orleans for his second PGA Tour victory of the year and third of his career.

Associated Press

Bubba Watson wins the Zurich Classic of New Orleans for his second PGA Tour victory of the year and third of his career.

AVONDALE, La. — Bubba Watson has been working on becoming a better man.

He figures he's probably a better player because of it.

Watson overcame a three-stroke deficit over the final eight holes of regulation and beat Webb Simpson in a playoff Sunday at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans for his second PGA Tour victory of the year and third of his career.

"My wife, my caddie and my trainer would say my attitude's in the right spot," said Watson, 32. "This week, I won (by) not getting down on bad shots, just staying focused on what I'm supposed to be doing."

Simpson took a one-stroke penalty on No. 15 when his ball moved as he was addressing it on the green, less than a foot from the hole.

"I better limit my comments on that rule, because I think it's such a bad rule," Simpson said. "When the wind or other natural things affect the golf ball, the player shouldn't be penalized. … But Bubba deserves a win, and I'm pretty happy for him."

Watson, who won at Torrey Pines in January, matched Simpson with 3-under 69 to finish at 15-under 273. Both birdied No. 18 on the first extra hole.

Watson opened the second playoff hole with a 329-yard drive that narrowly missed the water and landed in a bunker. He hit his second shot — a 7-iron — 210 yards to the green on the 568-yard, par-5 18th.

Simpson's second shot landed in a bunker short of the green, and he blasted out to 12 feet.

After Simpson missed his birdie putt, Watson made a 3-foot birdie putt for the victory, which earned him $1,152,000 and moved him up from No. 16 to No. 10 in the world.

Watson's mother, Molly, asked him to play in the event so she could drive from her Pensacola area home to watch him.

"I want to ask mom where else I should play," he said.

And his wife, Angie, has been telling him to work on his composure on the course.

"She told me that I'm playing golf for a living, it's a dream come true and … I've got to act differently," he said. "If I'm going to support kids and do charity work, (getting angry on the course) is not a good example."

LPGA: Maria Hjorth took advantage of Alexis Thompson's collapse in a failed bid to become the youngest tour winner, rallying at the Avnet LPGA Classic in Mobile, Ala., for her fifth tour title. Hjorth shot her second straight 5-under 67 to finish at 10-under 278, two ahead of Song-Hee Kim (71).

"I knew I just had to be patient," said Hjorth, 37, who earned $195,000 then donated $20,000 of her winnings to the American Red Cross tornado relief efforts in Alabama.

Thompson, 16, was tied for the lead entering the round but shot 78 to tie for 19th at 1 under.

"I just didn't hit it very solid," she said. " … I wasn't even that nervous surprisingly."

Tampa's Kristy McPherson (71) tied for 32nd at 1 over, and Seminole's Brittany Lincicome (75) tied for 37th at 2 over.

Westwood wins: Top-ranked Lee Westwood began the day three back but rallied for his second straight win, shooting 5-under 67 to beat Miguel Angel Jimenez (71) by a stroke at the Ballantine's Championship in Seoul, South Korea. Westwood, 38, the English star who won the Asian Tour's Indonesian Masters last week to regain the No. 1 ranking, finished at 12-under 276 in the event sanctioned by the European Tour and Asian Tour and Korea PGA.

A calmer Watson prevails 05/01/11 [Last modified: Sunday, May 1, 2011 10:15pm]
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