Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Bubba Watson wins Northern Trust Open

LOS ANGELES — Bubba Watson packed plenty of memories from his week in Los Angeles.

He passed a kidney stone Monday. He had a cameo in the TV show Girl Meets World. He got a text message Sunday morning from the Warriors' Stephen Curry offering shooting tips for Watson's 3-year-old son. And he capped it with the best memento of all.

"Hold on a second, my trophy is coming," Watson said, interrupting his news conference as the shiny prize was placed on the table next to him.

It wasn't clear if passing the kidney stone or winning the Northern Trust Open on Sunday was more difficult.

Two shots behind with four holes to play, Watson rallied with flawless golf and a pair of birdies over the last three holes to overtake Jason Kokrak and hold off Adam Scott to win at Riviera for the second time in three years and move back to No. 4 in the world.

Watson, who led after the third round, closed with 3-under 68 to finish at 15-under 269 for a one-shot win, his ninth career victory on the PGA Tour.

"The highlight is definitely winning," Watson said. "When you come to Hollywood, there's a lot of things you can do. It's fun. And winning is the cake."

Watson was among a half-dozen players who still had a chance to win over the back nine. He took advantage of some late mistakes by Kokrak (68), who was going for his first tour victory, and his two birdies were enough to turn back the late heroics of Scott, who chipped in for birdie on the 18th for 67.

That group of contenders did not include Rory McIlroy.

In his Riviera debut, McIlroy eagled the par-5 first hole to tie for the lead. But he didn't make a birdie until the 18th, giving him 75 to finish 6 under.

"I turned a chance to win into a top 20 at the end of the day, so that wasn't too good," McIlroy said.

It was a bitter taste for Kokrak, who led by two after a birdie on 13. But he made bogey from the fairway on the 15th, had to scramble for par on the next two holes and narrowly missed a birdie on the 18th that ended his chances.

LPGA: Haru Nomura of Japan won her first tournament in her 72nd start, shooting 7-under 65 to win the Women's Australian Open by three strokes at Adelaide. Nomura, tied for the lead with South Korea's Jenny Shin and American Danielle Kang going into the final round, finished at 16-under 272. Top-ranked and defending champion Lydia Ko, who trailed by a stroke after three rounds, finished second after 67. Five-time champion Karrie Webb (71) was third, seven strokes back. Kang (73) was in a group of five that was eight strokes behind. Shin (74) was nine strokes back with four others.