Bubba Watson’s hole-out bunker shot for eagle at the 72nd hole may prove to be one of the shots of the year in golf for 2014.
The Masters champion went on to edge South Africa’s Tim Clark with a birdie on the first playoff hole at Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai to win the World Golf Championships—HSBC Champions. Both finished 11-under.
The victory – his third of 2014 and seventh in his career – moved Bubba to No. 3 in the latest Official World Golf Ranking behind only top-ranked Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott. Watson bumped Sergio Garcia to No. 4, while Jim Furyk rounded out the Top 5.
Watson, who also won the Northern Trust Open last February at Riviera, is now the top-ranked American in the world.
In control of the tournament, Watson made bogey-double bogey to open the door for a host of players. Rickie Fowler and Graeme McDowell both failed to make birdie on the final hole to join the playoff. They ended up a shot back along with Japan’s Hiroshi Iwata, who moved up 47 spots to 80th in the world rankings.
Fowler moved up a spot to 9th in the rankings, while G-Mac climbed two places to 15th. G-Mac, who led after each of the first three rounds, failed to close out the win shooting 1-over on the final day.
Watson’s seven wins are the third most in the world since 2010 behind McIlroy’s nine and Tiger Woods’ eight titles. Bubba was a 25-to-1 betting pick, according to Ladbrokes.com, heading into the tournament.
Other Golf News:
- European Tour veterans Martin Kaymer and Ian Poulter finished T-6 in China and head to the Turkish Airlines Open this week – the second-to-last event in the Final Series leading up to the Race To Dubai finale at the DP World Tour Championship.
- Shooting 66 in the final round, Canada’s Nick Taylor turned some heads with his victory on the PGA Tour Sunday at the Sanderson Farms Championship. Taylor, who entered the week ranked 566th in the world, was a super long shot to win as a 250-1 betting pick. At 16-under, he beat Bo Weekley and Jason Bohn by two shots. Taylor moved to No. 210 in the latest update.
- Mi Hyang Lee (11-under) beat two others in a playoff to capture the LPGA Tour’s Mizuno Classic in Japan. Nine others including Hall of Fame members Laura Davies and Karrie Webb finished a shot outside of the playoff. Americans Jessica Korda and Morgan Pressel also ended up in the logjam at T-4.
- The LPGA Tour heads to Mexico of the Lorena Ochoa Invitational this week before moving to Naples, Florida for the season-finale at the CME Group Tour Championship.
- Clark, who won the PGA Tour’s RBC Canadian Open in July, cracked the Top 60 at No. 58 in the latest ranking.