Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bubba Watson takes one-shot lead at Northern Trust Open

LOS ANGELES — Bubba Watson has the 54-hole lead at the Northern Trust Open, and that might not even be the most fun he has had this week.

He took his 3-year-old son to hang out with pop star Justin Bieber. The two-time Masters champion had a small part — one line that he said required four takes — in Disney Channel's Girl Meets World. And he couldn't wait to leave Riviera on Saturday so he could get to an NBA game between the Clippers and Warriors.

"That's the advantage is that I'm friends with a lot of the guys, friends with Steve Ballmer — I don't know if you know him, he's the owner of the Clippers," Watson said.

Winning at Riviera Country Club for the second time in three years? That might be gravy.

Watson put himself in prime condition on a gorgeous afternoon along Sunset Boulevard with 4-under 67, which included an efficient up-and-down for birdie on the par-5 17th to break out of the pack and a par save from the concession area down the hill and to the right of the 18th green.

Navigating the final 18 holes against a strong pack of contenders might be tougher than traffic on Interstate 405.

Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama were all among the 10 players within three shots of the lead going into the final round. Watson was at 12-under 201, one shot ahead of Johnson, Jason Kokrak and Chez Reavie.

"We all feel good about our chances, even the guy that's five back," Watson said. "For me, I'm going to go out and try to do the same thing, keep my head down, try to take deep breaths and try to slow it down and hopefully it works out."

Watson hit more fairways Saturday (10) then the opening two rounds combined.

Kokrak, the 36-hole leader, made three birdies on the back nine to salvage 70 and remain in the final group. Reavie had a three-shot lead at one point on the back nine, courtesy of a perfectly placed drive that led to eagle on No. 2. But he missed a pair of 8-foot par putts on consecutive holes and had to settle for 69.

LPGA: American Danielle Kang shot 5-under 67 to move into a share of the third-round lead with South Korea's Jenny Shin and Haru Nomura of Japan at the Women's Australian Open in Adelaide. Leading contenders Lydia Ko (68) and Karrie Webb (70) were one stroke off the lead at the Grange's West course. Kang was at 9-under 207 along with Shin and Nomura, who had 70s. Catriona Matthew, who was tied for the lead after two rounds, shot 73 and was at 7-under.

Bubba Watson takes one-shot lead at Northern Trust Open 02/20/16 [Last modified: Saturday, February 20, 2016 10:17pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa Bay Downs full of high-paying races this season

    Parimutuels

    OLDSMAR — Tampa Bay Downs is green like never before.

  2. Astros rout Yankees to force Game 7 of AL Championship Series

    Ml

    HOUSTON — Justin Verlander pitched seven shutout innings to outduel Luis Severino for the second time, and the Astros bats came alive in their return home as Houston routed the Yankees 7-1 Friday night and forced a decisive Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

    The Astros’ Brian McCann, who has struggled during the ALCS, breaks a scoreless tie with an RBI double during the fifth inning off Yankees starter Luis Severino.
  3. Fennelly: What's not to like about Lightning's start?

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — No one is engraving the Stanley Cup. No one has begun stuffing the league MVP ballot box for Nikita Kucherov.

    The Lightning, with a win tonight, would match the best start in franchise history, 7-1-1 in the 2003-04 Cup season.
  4. Quarterback Jameis Winston will start Sunday for the Bucs

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Jameis Winston hadn't thrown in practice since he injured his right shoulder in Sunday's loss at Arizona, and with that uncertainty, a wide line of TV cameras and reporters' cellphones were all out Friday morning, recording the moment as Winston tested his shoulder with his first throws early in …

    Despite a sore shoulder, Jameis Winston will be making his 38th consecutive start since being drafted first overall in 2015.
  5. Bucs journal: LB Kwon Alexander ready to return from injury

    Bucs

    TAMPA — LB Kwon Alexander, sidelined by a hamstring injury since the second quarter of the Bucs' season opener against Chicago, will finally make a healthy return Sunday against the Bills.

    Linebacker Kwon Alexander needs “to get my stats back up” after being out since the opener.