Bubba ends drought at Riviera

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iol spt feb17 Bubba-Northern Trust trophy AP Bubba Watson won his first PGA Tour title since the 2012 Masters when he triumphed at the Northern Trust Open at Riviera. Photo by: Reed Saxon/AP

Los Angeles – Bubba Watson was feeling the romance of Riviera on Sunday – and trying not to let it distract him from winning there.

The American was soaking up the atmosphere striding up the 18th, where golf greats such as Ben Hogan and Hollywood icons like Humphrey Bogart walked before him.

With a one-stroke lead and his nearest rival already in the clubhouse, Watson could afford it – sort of.

“Well, I was,” Watson said. “Then you have to think back – you've still got to two-putt ... you have to catch yourself and slow down and make sure you complete what you're doing.”

In fact, Watson did better than that, rolling in a 14-footer for a birdie that gave him a two-stroke victory in the US PGA Tour's Northern Trust Open.

It was his first victory since he made his major breakthrough in 2012 at the Masters – at another American golf cathedral, Augusta National.

Across the country, Riviera holds a special place in West Coast golf history.

Ben Hogan won the Los Angeles Open at Riviera in 1942 and again in 1947 and 1948. The 1948 US Open was also held at Riviera, and Hogan won the second of his nine major championships here.

Sam Snead and Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer and Tom Watson won here, too.

Add the dash of Hollywood glamour, and the fact that the course has changed little over the decades, and it's a thrill to win on, Watson said.

“I love it,” Watson said. “They don't trick it up. They don't have to add a bunch of length. It just is what it is, and it's tough.

“For me to be a part of this now is amazing.”

Watson got to share his moment in the California sun with his wife, Angie, and toddler son Caleb.

The couple had just adopted the baby boy when Watson won the Masters, so it was a treat to have him on hand at 18, cheering and posing with the trophy.

“Two weeks away from being two years old,” Watson said of his son. “What a thrill.” – Sapa-AFP


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