Watson sizzles at Match Play

AP
Bubba Watson was in high spirits for someone with such low expectations at the WGC-Match Play Championship.
AP
AFP

Bubba Watson of the United States poses with the Walter Hagen Cup after winning the WGC-Match Play Championship in Austin, Texas, on Sunday. 

BUBBA Watson was in high spirits for someone with such low expectations at the WGC-Match Play Championship.

Walking to the sixth tee, already 2 up in his semifinal match against Justin Thomas, he smiled and said, “Just remember, I was beating No. 1 at some point.” Thomas only had to win that match to reach No. 1 in the world, and Watson figured that’s what would happen. It was about the only thing he got wrong on Sunday.

Watson denied Thomas with a brand of golf that was close to flawless, and then he made the final look as though he were on vacation all along. Watson won his second World Golf Championship with the biggest blowout since the title match switched to 18 holes in 2011, a 7-and-6 victory over Kevin Kisner.

He sure didn’t expect to play only 28 holes in two matches on the final day at Austin Country Club, lead after every one of them, and pose with the trophy.

“There’s stories all different directions that didn’t go the way I saw it,” he said. “It worked out in my favor. I’m glad I didn’t see it.”

Watson wasn’t as sharp in the final as he was in his 3-and-2 victory over Thomas, and didn’t have to be. If not for missing a 4-foot birdie putt on the sixth hole of the championship match, Watson would have won the first seven holes.

Kisner contributed to that. After escaping in 19 holes against Alex Noren in the semifinals, in which Noren had putts of 10 feet and 7 feet on the last two holes to win, Kisner didn’t put up much of a fight. He made four straight bogeys, and only twice was putting for birdie through 10 holes.

Watson won US$1.7 million for his 11th career victory on the PGA Tour.


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