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Watney finds a way at Doral

“To win this tournament against this field, it’s a huge honor,” says Nick Watney, celebrating his birdie on the 18th green.

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“To win this tournament against this field, it’s a huge honor,” says Nick Watney, celebrating his birdie on the 18th green.

DORAL — Nick Watney wound up in another duel at Doral, this one with a much sweeter ending.

Watney poured in two key putts for par along the back nine of the Blue Monster on Sunday, then he hit two fearless shots on the 18th and finished with birdie for 5-under 67 to win the Cadillac Championship by two shots over Dustin Johnson.

It was the third win of Watney's career — and the biggest.

The American, 29, captured a World Golf Championship event and earned a measure of redemption on the Blue Monster. It was two years ago when Watney battled Phil Mickelson on the weekend, only for his 30-foot birdie putt on the last hole to stop one turn short of a chance at a playoff.

This time, he left nothing to chance.

With a one-shot lead on the 18th — where he had put his tee shot into the water Saturday for double bogey — Watney hit his drive more than 300 yards down the middle of the fairway and hit his approach to 12 feet above the hole. He pumped his fist when it fell for birdie, knowing that Johnson would have to hole out from the fairway to tie him.

Johnson settled for a shot into 8 feet and missed the putt to finish with 71.

"I'm not sure it owed me one," Watney said. "I think I settled the score. If you keep working hard, you get back in that situation. And luckily (Sunday), I was able to do a little better."

Watney closed at 16-under 272 and earned $1.4 million.

Tiger Woods matched his best score of the year with 6-under 66, and when Rory McIlroy dunked his tee shot into the water on the 18th and made bogey, that enabled Woods to tie for 10th.

It was his first top 10 in an official PGA Tour event in nine months, dating to the U.S. Open.

"I want to win golf tournaments … and I didn't do that this week," Woods said. "But I showed positive signs for the next time I play, which is a good thing."

Brandon's Bradley wins in Puerto Rico

RIO GRANDE, Puerto Rico — Michael Bradley took advantage of Troy Matteson's short par miss on the first extra hole to win the Puerto Rico Open for the second time in three years.

Bradley, 44, who lives in Brandon, closed with his fourth straight 4-under 68 to match Matteson (72) at 16-under 272 at Trump International Golf Club, then he made par on the par-5 18th in the playoff for his fourth PGA Tour victory.

Matteson three-putted in the playoff, missing a 3-footer.

Bradley ended up in the playoff after missing a 3-footer on 18.

"I don't know if that was turnabout fair play after that little putt I missed on the 72nd hole," Bradley said. "But you hate to win a championship like that with somebody else missing a putt like that. But you know, I'm very happy to be a two-time champion of this event now, so I'll move on to next week."

Bradley birdied the first two holes, eagled the par-5 fifth and birdied the seventh to reach 17 under. He bogeyed the 14th, countered with birdie on 15, then missed the short par putt on 18 to drop back into a tie.

"It would have been disappointing if I would have ended up losing the tournament because I missed that putt and then lost in the playoff," said Bradley, who earned $630,000. "Would have been disappointing, but I don't have to worry about it anymore."

Bradley is expected to compete in this week's Transitions Championship in Palm Harbor.

Champions: Nick Price won the Toshiba Classic for his fourth career tour title, holding off Mark Wiebe by a stroke in Newport Beach, Calif. Price closed with 3-under 68 to finish at 17-under 196. Wiebe shot 67.

>>Fast facts

Transitions Championship

What: 72-hole PGA Tour event

When/where: Thursday-Sunday; Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club, Copperhead Course, Palm Harbor

Par/yards: 71; 7,340

Field: 144 players

Purse: $5,500,000 (winner's share is $990,000)

Fed Ex Cup points: 500

Defending champ: Jim Furyk

Schedule: Today — Shelton Quarles celebrity pro-am, 12:30 p.m. shotgun start. Tuesday — Professional practice rounds. Wednesday — Transitions Championship pro-am. Thursday — First round. Morning and afternoon tee times. Friday — Second round. Morning and afternoon tee times. Saturday — Third round. Sunday — Final round.

Tickets: Available at Publix and or by calling (727) 942-5566. Tickets bought in advance are $30 per day, $40 at the gate and $89 for a weekly badge. Those 17 and younger and military personnel are free all week.

TV: Thursday-Friday, 3-6 p.m., Golf Channel; Saturday-Sunday, 1-3 p.m., Golf Channel, 3-6, Ch. 8

Notes: Today's qualifier will be at Innisbrook's Island Course. It used to be at Fox Hollow in Pasco County. … The Shelton Quarles pro-am will feature mostly celebrities from the local sports world. Bucs coach Raheem Morris, cornerback Ronde Barber, offensive coordinator Greg Olson, general manager Mark Dominik and former Bucs star Derrick Brooks will play. Others: former FSU and NFL quarterback Chris Weinke; former baseball players Fred McGriff and Tino Martinez; baseball players Troy Glaus, B.J. Upton, David Price and James Shields; hockey greats Phil Esposito, Dave Andreychuk and Stan Mikita; and former LPGA star Jan Stephenson and Seminole's Brittany Lincicome.

Watney finds a way at Doral 03/13/11 [Last modified: Sunday, March 13, 2011 9:29pm]
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