Bubba Watson delivered the best closing round at Riviera in some three decades. Watson played the final 39 holes without a bogey and shot a 7-under 64 on Sunday to win the Northern Trust Open in Los Angeles. It was his first victory in 22 months and 41 tournaments worldwide dating to the 2012 Masters.
Watson wound up with a 2-shot victory over Dustin Johnson, who closed with a 66 for the second straight week and got the same result.
Watson, who also shot 64 on Saturday to start the final round 4 shots behind William McGirt, made up ground so quickly that he broke out of a four-way tie for the lead with a birdie on the eighth hole and made the turn in 30. Equally critical were a pair of par saves with 7-foot putts on the 12th and 13th holes. Watson finished at 15-under 269.
Johnson made birdie on the 15th hole to get within 1 shot. He didn’t give himself good birdie chances on the last three holes. Jason Allred, who went to college up the coast at Pepperdine, played bogey-free for a 68 and tied for third with Brian Harman, who also had a 68.
South Africa’s Thomas Aiken won the Africa Open, beating England’s Oliver Fisher with a 30-foot birdie putt on the first hole of a playoff. Aiken finished with a 5-under 67 to match Fisher (69) at 24-under 264. Aiken won his third European Tour title and gave South Africa its 36th victory in 58 tour events in the country. Kent State and Hudson High graduate John Hahn (68) and England’s David Horsey (65) tied for third, a stroke back.
Ace Group Classic
Kirk Triplett won the ACE Group Classic on Sunday for his third Champions Tour title, holing a 6-foot par putt on the final hole for a 1-stroke victory in Naples, Fla. Triplett shot a 6-under 66 to finish at 16-under 200 on TwinEagles’ Talon Course. Bernhard Langer, the defending champion, Duffy Waldorf and Olin Browne tied for second. Playing in the final threesome, Triplett, Langer and Waldorf were tied for the lead with a hole to play.