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Bubba boo-yeah! Watson wins as McIlroy crumbles on the final day at Riviera

McIlroy slumps to a tie for 20th at the Northern Trust Open after starting final round in contention.

Watson: Happy return to Riviera was his 9th PGA Tour win.
Watson: Happy return to Riviera was his 9th PGA Tour win.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

BUBBA WATSON CAPTURED the Northern Trust Open for the second time in three years, emerging from a crowded leaderboard to win by just one stroke.

The two-time Masters winner now heads to the first Major championship of the season at Augusta National in seven weeks looking for his third green jacket.

The 37-year-old American, who also won at Pacific Palisades in 2014, birdied two of his final three holes en route to a three-under 68 to finish on 15-under.

“What I was looking for today was to make par and then throw in some lucky birdies,” said Watson, who now has nine wins on the US PGA Tour.

I want to get to 10 wins because that is a big stepping stone in this day and age on the PGA Tour.

Watson’s playing partner, Jason Kokrak, fell just short in his quest for his first PGA title, closing with a 68 to finish at 14-under and share second with Adam Scott.

Australia’s Scott birdied 17 and 18 en route to a 67. He chipped out from 25 feet on 18 for a birdie and looked for a while like he could be headed to a playoff, but Watson sealed the victory with a short two-foot putt on 18.

Rory McIlroy’s hopes of launching his Masters preparations with a victory fell apart after he fired a final round 75.

The world number three eagled the first hole to briefly move into a share of the lead, but then played the holes from four through 13 in six-over.

“One of those days, I couldn’t really get anything going after the good start,” said McIlroy, who finished tied for 20th, ninth strokes back of Watson.

© AFP 2016

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