Watson captures Farmers Insurance Open

MONDAY, JAN. 31, 2011

The best Lefty at San Diego’s 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 had his caddie, Jim “Bones” Mackay, tend the flag – rare for a full shot from the fairway – and the gallery gasped when the ball landed just behind the hole and started to spin back toward the cup. But it never had a chance.

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, who closed with a 69 to finish a shot behind, Dustin Johnson and Jhonattan Vegas. Vegas bogeyed the final hole for a 68 to tie for third with Johnson (66).

Tiger Woods, who started the final round eight shots behind, closed with a 75. He wound up 15 shots back in a tie for 44th.

Champions Tour

Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson successfully defended their Champions Skins Game title, finishing with seven skins and $310,000 in Kaanapali, Hawaii, 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.

European Tour

England’s Paul Casey made a 5-foot par putt on the final hole to win the inaugural Volvo Golf Champions in Riffa, Bahrain, 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. Hanson (69) and Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez (67) finished a stroke back.

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