Sunday's Golf Capsules
Monday, January 31, 2011
SAN DIEGO (AP) — The best Lefty at Torrey Pines on Sunday turned out to be Bubba Watson.
Watson made clutch putts on the final two holes, including a 12-foot birdie on the par-5 18th for a 5-under 67 to win the Farmer Insurance Open in a finish filled with the kind of drama that few could have predicted.
Phil Mickelson — the other Lefty and the San Diego favorite — was one shot behind and was only 228 yards away in the rough when he decided to lay up before Watson even attempted his birdie putt.
Then came a loud cheer as Watson sank his putt for a two-shot lead, meaning Mickelson would have to hole out a wedge from 72 yards for eagle to force a playoff. He has his caddie, Jim “Bones” Mackay tend the flag — rare for a full shot from the fairway — and gallery gasped when the ball landed just behind the hole and started to spin back toward the cup. But it never had a chance.
Mickelson had said the secret to him playing the revamped South Course was to play it safe, and he followed that strategy all the way to a runner-up finish. Mickelson closed with a 69 to finish a shot behind.
Watson finished at 16-under 272 for his second victory, although this one came against a much stronger field than his playoff win at the Travelers Championship last summer.
He held off Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Jhonattan Vegas, the Venezuela rookie coming off a win at the Bob Hope Classic last week. Vegas bogey the final hole for a 68 to tie for third with Johnson (66).
Tiger Woods also was in the field, although no one noticed during the final two hours. Woods, who started the final round eight shots behind, closed with a 75 to end his five-tournament winning streak at Torrey Pines. He had never finished out of the top 10 at Torrey Pines, but wound up 15 shots back in a tie for 44th.
Champions Skins Game
KAANAPALI, Hawaii (AP) — Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson successfully defended their Champions Skins Game title, finishing with seven skins and $310,000 to edge Mark O’Meara and Bernhard Langer by $10,000.
Nicklaus and Watson took five skins and $250,000 on the par-3 17th. Nicklaus hit a 6-iron from 136 yards to 12 feet and Watson made the birdie putt in the alternate-shot event that they also won in 2007.
O’Meara and Langer had seven skins. Langer made a 7-footer for birdie on the 11th hole worth $80,000 and O’Meara tapped in for par on the second playoff hole for the final $100,000.
Fred Couples and Nick Price claimed $80,000, matching Ben Crenshaw and Fuzzy Zoeller.
RIFFA, Bahrain (AP) — England’s Paul Casey made a 5-foot par putt on the final hole to win the inaugural Volvo Golf Champions, his first victory in 20 months.
Casey needed the putt on The Royal Golf Club’s Montgomerie Course to secure the victory after playing partner Peter Hanson of Sweden missed made a bogey after hitting into a greenside bunker.
Casey shot a 4-under 68 to finish at 20-under 268. The victory was his 11th on European Tour and first since the 2009 BMW PGA Champions. Hanson (69) and Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez (67) finished a stroke back.