By Rebecca Bryan (AFP) – Jan 30, 2011
LA JOLLA, California — Bubba Watson fired a final-round 67 to win the 5.8 million-dollar Farmers Insurance Open, claiming his second career US PGA title by one stroke over Masters champion Phil Mickelson.
Watson had six birdies and just one bogey in a five-under par effort that gave the American a 16-under par total of 272.
After a clutch nine-foot putt to save par at 17, he punctuated his round with a 12-foot birdie at the final hole.
Playing partner Jhonattan Vegas, the Venezuelan rookie who won the Bob Hope Classic last week, arrived at 18 trailing Watson by one.
But Vegas's shot into the green at the par-five finishing hole skidded into the water.
Watson had already rolled in his birdie putt when Vegas missed his putt to save par.
Mickelson, who was playing just behind them and had birdied 17 to pull even with Vegas for second, then birdied the last to come up one stroke short.
Mickelson, who was in the rough at 18, elected to lay up even before Watson had made his birdie putt.
Once Watson's effort went in, Mickelson needed to hole out from the fairway to force a playoff.
Mickelson said he just didn't have a shot into the green, but he gave himself every chance at the eagle, having his caddie run up and tend the pin.
"Obviously, you need to hit a great shot and you need to have some luck to hole one from the fairway," Mickelson said. "I'm not naive on that. I get it.
"But I also didn't want to have something in the way."
Watson, who had blasted out of a greenside bunker at the last hole, said he didn't realize when he stepped up to his putt that Mickelson had laid up.
"I didn't want to get too excited because I thought it was him going for it," Watson said.
"Then I knew he had to hole it from wherever he laid up to, so went and signed my scorecard and just sat in there until they said he missed it.
"I didn't know what he made on the hole. I just know that I won."
Mickelson posted a three-under 69 for 273, while Vegas had a 68 for 275. Vegas shared third with Dustin Johnson, who surged up the leaderboard with a six-under 66.
D.A. Points was a further shot back after a 67 for 276.
Watson, who claimed his first US tour win last June and made his first Ryder Cup team last year, said this victory showed his efforts to improve his mental game were playing off.
"What it means to me is that I played good," he said. "It just shows that I can do it. I did it twice now."
Mickelson, who claimed the last of his three victories here back in 2001, admitted he was disappointed.
"I wanted to start the year off with a win, obviously," he said. "But on the other hand, I played really good golf and gave myself an opportunity."
Tiger Woods gave himself no chance. He started the day eight off the lead shared by Mickelson and Bill Haas and made no headway.
He had five bogeys and two birdies in his three-over 75 that left him tied for 44th on one-under 287.
Woods, a seven-time winner at Torrey Pines, could only look to his next start at the Dubai Desert Classic on February 10-13.
"I have a week to get ready and got a lot of work to do," said the 14-time major champion, who hasn't won since the 2009 Australian Masters.
On a day when the balmy weather of the early rounds gave way to chilly winds and afternoon cloudbursts, Nick Watney scorched Torrey Pines South.
Among the back-markers teeing off on the 10th, he birdied eight of nine before his turn and finished with those eight birdies and an eagle against one bogey in a 63 that moved up to a tie for sixth on 278.
He was joined by Anthony Kim (72) and Hunter Mahan (73).
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